Apple has apparently figured out how to hide the unsightly iPhone antenna bands.
When Apple’s most recent flagships launched last year, people had two big complaints: the minuscule camera hump, and the ugly antenna bands, the latter of which people said tarnished an otherwise beautiful design. It seemed even Apple couldn’t overcome the engineering challenges of a metal phone, much to the dismay of its users. But that could change.
The company filed a new patent for a composite material that looks like anodized metal, but doesn’t interrupt wireless signals. That means even if the antennas are on the back of your phone, Apple has figured out how to camouflage them so it’s no longer an issue. It’s essentially like giving the iPhone a spray tan.
In its patents, Apple explains how challenging using metal is, saying the material doesn’t allow radio frequencies to pass through, and often clashes with alternative materials, such as plastic and glass. Apple has used an aluminum design since as far back as the iPhone 5, but it still hasn’t quite got the design exactly right; the iPhone 5 had two glass panels, while the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have the ugly antenna bands.
While most people have likely gotten over the perceived flaw, it’s still something Apple is hoping to correct. This new composite material could allow Apple to finally hide these unsightly bands, giving the company’s upcoming handsets a more uniform appearance.
Apple might actually apply this patent to a whole host of products. The company also describes using it on laptops for capacitive touch pads, as well as tablets.
Just because a patent has been filed, however, doesn’t mean we’ll see Apple put it into practice down the road. But it is a very real possibility. And hugely welcome for people who found that the antennas were an major eyesore.