Feeds

Apple moves to patent mobile color

NASCAR carbon cue

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Apple has filed a patent application describing a technique for creating fashionably colored carbon fiber device enclosures.

Carbon fiber composites have been around for decades, prized for their light weight and great strength. As such, carbon fiber would be an ideal material for mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and mobile internet devices (MIDs) such as, say, the overgrown iPod touch that world+dog expects Apple to release later this year.

Carbon fiber is so popular, in fact, that there's currently a shortage of it. Designers of NASCAR's carbonized Car of Tomorrow, for example, bemoan the fact that carbon fiber composites now cost four to six times as much as aluminum - or, for that matter, as aluminium.

While its high cost may be a drawback for carbon fiber's use in consumer-level electronic devices, Apple sees an even bigger problem. As the company states in its filing, "carbon fiber composites, often being black, provide a narrow range of surface appearance to the molded article and therefore may give a 'tired', unexciting look."

And if there's anything an Apple product can't be, it's tired and unexciting.

And so the filing goes to great length in describing a process in which a carbon fiber composite can be molded in such a way that colored glass-fiber "scrims" can impart their beauty to the composite, thus "providing an improved cosmetic surface of a molded article formed therefrom that is not only consistent in appearance, but is also aesthetically pleasing."

Whether Apple's brainstorm is patentable is a matter for materials scientists to determine. But it's worth mentioning that colored carbon fiber items are far from rare. For example, they're currently available in the automotive industry not only in NASCAR car bodies and parts, but also in consumer-level hoods and dashboards. You can even get colored carbon fiber violin bows and paintball-gun barrels.

Perhaps Apple is blazing a new trail in vibrant, lightweight - and expensive - hardware. And perhaps it has just applied for yet another debatable patent. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.