Apple Patent Hints at ‘Optically Reflective Layer’ for Potential iPhone 8 Casing

Rumor has it that the iPhone 8 is going to launch with at least four different colors available, and one of those new options could be a “mirror-like finish.”

A recently-revealed patent application, submitted by Apple, and revealed by CNBC, might give us a glimpse of how Apple could achieve that reflective casing for the next flagship iPhone. Specifically, the patent application indicates an “optically reflective layer,” which is specifically designed for metallic casings for both iPhones and laptops.

The patent application, as usual, has plenty of vague elements, and there’s no telling if Apple even plans on utilizing it in any consumer-grade products. It does articulate in some fashion that Apple could combine a reflective, mirror-like surface with a translucent one:

“According to the patent, a reflective layer would be combined with the surface of a translucent layer, “wherein the metal flakes provide multiple light reflective surfaces such that the composite structure has an appearance of an anodized metal.”

The end result could be a case for the iPhone 8 that’s not only continuous, but also smooth, and could reduce scratches and other physical blemishes. What’s more, the case itself isn’t anodized metal, but only gives the image of such, which means that it wouldn’t interfere with any antennas under the hood.

There’s another patent application noted in the report, but it mentions a ceramic finish:

“A separate patent application, published in March, shows a smooth, matte ceramic finish for what looks like an iPhone. The patent describes a ceramic surface made from materials including zirconia or sapphire and potentially transparent, blasted at high pressure with a harder substance, such as diamond or sapphire.

“Compared to other optically clear materials, such as polycarbonate, hard ceramic materials like zirconia offer improved strength and fracture toughness,” the patent says. “However, as previously mentioned, zirconia may be difficult to polish using traditional techniques.”

There’s no telling if Apple actually plans on launching another color variant for the iPhone lineup this year, and there’s certainly no indication that these patent applications will actually lead to anything, but the timing of both certainly raises some eyebrows.

[via CNBC]

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