When Apple introduced the new Mac Pro back in 2019, the internet had a field day mocking its cheese grater design. While Apple says that the design maximizes airflow and also helps with structural integrity, it’s the uncanny similarity with the kitchen tool that comes to mind first when you come across the machine. Well, it appears that Apple might bring this design to more products in the feature, with iPhones being one of them.
As per a patent titled Housing Construction filed before the USPTO and spotted first by PatentlyApple, Apple is considering the 3D lattice pattern of the Mac Pro for iPhones as well. The reason cited in the patent description is familiar – optimize air flow, offer better protection for the internal components, and of course, be pleasing to look at. However, the latter part about ‘looking pleasing’ is up for debate. Here’s what the patent application says:
The components of an electronic device, for example a housing of an electronic device, may include three-dimensional structures having features tailored to the specific purposes for which they are employed. The components of an electronic device may be configured to provide physical support or protection to other components of the electronic device, provide for thermal transmission, provide for airflow through or around the electronic device, or provide for one or more various other purposes. Additionally, the components of the electronic device may be designed to provide a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user.
In simple words, Apple wants to replicate the ‘inspired by nature’ lattice pattern of the Mac Pro’s panel for roughly the same set of benefits on the iPhone as well. And oh, the patent diagrams also envision the same aesthetic makeover for a trash can-style Mac Pro. Yes, the same filthy expensive cylindrical Mac that was an upgradability nightmare. However, Apple is not limiting itself to metal when it comes to replicating the 3D lattice design on iPhones, as the patent also explores options such as ceramic, glass, amorphous metal, polycarbonate, and even a combination of the aforementioned materials.
Coming back to the cheese grater-esque aesthetic overhaul for the iPhone, the patent diagrams give us a look at what it might look like. Unlike the Mac Pro, the lattice pattern will be used on the back as well as the side rails. It adds that the ‘light weight and stiffness of the three-dimensional structure can also provide a user with a pleasing experience when handling the device.’ And in case you’re wondering, yes, the patent also describes a 3D-design metal sheet in multiple color options.
As for the manufacturing process, Apple might go with 3D printing to achieve the desired cheese grater aesthetics on iPhones. And before your imaginations go wild, do keep in mind that this is a patent application we’re talking about, which means things are very much in the concept stage and won’t necessarily make it out as a commercially available product!