Apple Wants to Hide the Antenna Gap on Future iPhones and iPads

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 19 Jan 2021

Apple is reportedly testing new technologies that would hide the antenna gap in future iPhones and cellular iPads. The company plans to use a ‘thin dye layer’ which would mimic case material.

Currently, Apple finds it difficult to design an iPhone that can handle electromagnetic waves easily. The company runs antenna lines on the sides and back of the iPhones almost making it look like an aesthetic of the design. iFixit’s Synder once said that these “lines/bars on the outer case provide a clean escape route for the signal to get through the case.”

Earlier iPhones like the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 had glass top and bottom which enabled an easy escape for the signals. But with the newer iPhones like the iPhone 6s, and 7 Apple had to use these ‘bars’ which enabled the signal to be sent easily. Apple then switched again to the glass back with iPhone X and iPhone 8, but still has these ‘lines’ along the sides of the phone.

iPhone and iPad have a ‘single enclosure’ due to which Apple has to rely on these antenna lines. One possible way of fixing this problem would be using a two-part casing for future iPhones, but that would come at a cost of weakening the structure.

A new patent granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office hints that Apple is testing a new ‘casing’ for iPhones. The new casing would actually be made with three layers, but it would appear to be a single structure.

antenna iphone

Apple’s idea involves using three elements, namely the main casing of the iPhone, a second housing part to fill the section, and an ink layer to stick them. The ink layer would be between two joints to cover it from view completely. The main housing would be made from metal, which would house other things like the motherboard, sensors, camera, and speaker of the phone. The top layer, however, would be made from a non-conductive material with a cosmetic coating up top, to hide the layer.

This top non-conductive layer would enable easy passage of signals. The ink between the layers would ensure that the housing looks like ‘a single enclosure,’ as well as stick the two layers together. The ink would be made from a material that is permissive of radio transmissions.

Recently, Apple filed a patent testing new covers and cases for iPhone. The covers Apple is testing would have a cavity to hold AirPods and to charge them. Another patent filed last week hinted at Apple Glass’s ability to unlock iPhones and other Apple devices.

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