New Apple Patents Reveal Manufacturing Process for Creating 3D Liquid Metal Glass Device Cases and More

Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple relating to techniques for manufacturing glass components for electronic devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate techniques in which a fluid such as liquid metal or molten salt is used to shape a piece of glass. Devices made this way can include a HomePod, Home Control device, iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.

Apple’s patent includes techniques that can be used to shape a piece of glass to produce a three-dimensional glass component. For exemple, the three-dimensional glass component can be a glass cover or a glass case.

In some examples, the shape of the glass part is changed using a forming technique in which a portion of the glass part is molded between a mold tool and a heated fluid such as liquid metal or molten salt. The resulting molded glass part can then be finished to produce the glass component.

Apple’s patent FIG. Figure 6 below schematically shows a #680 laser system and scanning operation of a #682 beam produced by the laser system. The laser system, which includes a #681 treatment head, is simplified for illustrative purposes in FIG. 6. The processing head and the transparent substrate #601 move relative to each other to scan the beam #682 along a path #661 on a front surface #602 of the transparent substrate.

Apple’s patent FIGS. 1A-B are just two examples of simple three-dimensional glass component devices that can be a a glass cover element or a glass case.

Apple’s invention is broadly covered by two patents: (#1: 20220193825)”Laser cut transparent components for an electronic device” and (#2: 20220194841) “Fluid formation a glass component for a portable electronic device.

Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of bringing such a product to market is unknown at this time.

Apple Pencil patent covering ‘Scribble’

For those interested, the US Patent Office has also published Apple’s patent application 20220197493 titled “Handwriting on an Electronic Device”, which covers doodlethe Apple Pencil function.

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Apple 3 XF patent for Scribble

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