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Apple has developed an iPhone so scratch-resistant you don’t need a case

Whenever a new iPhone comes out, Apple makes a big deal about the new colors and design to make everyone want one—and then everyone slaps a case on it. But based on a new patent Apple just won, that might not be the ‘case’ much longer.

As reported by Patently Apple, Apple was recently granted a patent for “an abrasion-resistant back panel made of glass or metal” that could be used in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. The trick is using “more than one material for the chassis.” The patent specifically deals with metal and ceramic, though the method could presumably be used on other materials as well.

According to the patent, Apple has developed a “moldable matrix” consisting of “abrasion-resistant members” that are harder than the surrounding materials. The diagram shows a series of “beads” that are “distributed in a regular pattern” with an average distance of between 10 and 100 microns—basically imperceptible. It also shows how the Apple logo and camera would be in areas that are free of the abrasion-resistant elements.

It’s an interesting patent and one that could be close to realization. This probably isn’t the kind of feature that would be rumored like a new camera or display, but it would be a huge selling point for people who put their iPhone in a case. Even though Apple sells several different iPhone cases, it would almost certainly rather people walk around with “naked” iPhones—as you can see in any Apple TV+ show—so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this surface in an iPhone as soon as the iPhone 16.

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