Absolutely Not, Apple

Absolutely Not, Apple
Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Today in things that absolutely no one asked for: a patent for a potential iPhone design that looks like a cheese grater. You know, like on the cursed Mac Pro tower? That, but on your phone.

Spotted by Patently Apple as one of dozens of newly granted Apple patents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent describes a “three-dimensional structure can include the body defining a first pattern of first cavities extending into the body from the first surface and the body defining a second pattern of second cavities extending into the body from the second surface. One or more first cavities can eccentrically intersect with one or more second cavities to define a pattern of apertures in the body.”

In figures 3 and 4 from images included in the published materials, we see examples of these “cavities,” which essentially just look like the Mac Pro design but on an iPhone. Apple explains that the design might be functionally beneficial, such as 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.”

Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

But also, the patent states that “the components of the electronic device may be designed to provide a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user.” That’s right, a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user.

To this I say: Absolutely not. My colleague Sam Rutherford argued that the “the cheese grater design might be nice,” adding that “there’s no way it’s going to be sharp” and that “it’ll be dimpled.” But whether or not it’s sharp is not the issue. The issue is that none of us should have to pay upwards of a grand for a device inspired heavily by a golf ball. Surely, we can do better.

Of course, patents don’t necessarily guarantee the design in question will ever go to market. But let me ask this: Do you actually want to hold a device to your face every day that gives off the same energy as the metal plate you use to grate your Parmigiano-Reggiano? That’s gonna be a big “no thanks” from me, buddy.