Technology News

Apple Patents Interference Free Metal-Esque Material

iPhone Metal Plastic

Some models of iPhones such as the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 exhibit two distinct strips of plastic running across the back which allow the phone’s internal antenna to communicate.

These strips of plastic are a necessity as metal would prevent radio waves from penetrating the phone’s exterior, however, Apple is reportedly working on a new metal-esque material which looks and feels like metal, but acts like plastic when it comes to radio frequency pass through, Business Insider reported.

Apple published a new patent application on Thursday in which the tech giant outlined plans to develop a new composite material which looks and feels like anodized metal, but has enough transparency to allow to radio frequencies to pass through and as SlashGear’s Chris Davies noted in a report, the patent “could have big implications for Macbooks” in addition to iPhones.

The tech giant explained in its patent filing that “maintaining a sleek and consistent appearance of a metallic outer enclosure for housing the various complex internal components” is a “design challenge” due to the metal’s lack of radio frequency transparency. According to the company, such a “visible break” which can be seen on the back of the latest iPhones “can detract from the smooth and continuous look of the metallic housing.”

Many computing devices have outer housings and coverings that include metallic surfaces giving the devices an aesthetically pleasing and durable look and feel. Computing devices can also include any of a number of complex functional components. For example, many laptops include capacitive touch pads that allow a user to control movement of a cursor. Mobile phones and tables have radio frequency antennas that allow communication via radio frequency transmission (…) One design challenge associated with computing devices is maintaining a sleek and consistent appearance of a metallic outer enclosure for housing the various complex internal components. Since metal is not radio frequency transparent, metal is generally a poor choice of material when the devices utilize electromagnetic wave transmission, such as radio frequency transmission for communication. In addition, metal is generally a high capacitive material, and as a result, not used to cover capacitive touch pads, touch screens and other capacitive sensors. Accordingly, portions of the housings that cover antennas and touch sensors are made of a non-metallic material such as plastic or glass. Unfortunately, plastic surfaces and glass surfaces have different visual qualities than metallic surfaces, which result in a visible break in the metallic surface of the housing. This visible break can detract from the smooth and continuous look of the metallic housing.

In other news, a Chinese man was reportedly busted with 94 iPhone 6’s strapped to his body and the cybersecurity researchers at Kaspersky Lab discovered a vulnerability in the Darwin kernel which leaves OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 users vulnerable to a remote denial of service attack.

What do you think of the plastic strips on the back of the iPhone?

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