Apple patent application details display-integrated cellular antennas

“Since the summer of 2010 Patently Apple has been covering Apple’s patent applications regarding a strong trend towards the development of a future MacBook with cellular-data capabilities,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Just this past week, Patently Apple has discovered yet another new patent application on this subject in a filing that came to light in Europe earlier this year,” Purcher reports. “This time around, Apple has brilliantly invented cellular antennas that could be integrated into a MacBook’s Multi-Touch trackpad or directly into the display of an iOS device like an iPhone.”

Purcher reports, “That’s important if Apple decides to design a future iPhone with a metal back… Apple states that it could be difficult to incorporate antennas successfully into an electronic device. Some electronic devices are manufactured with small form factors, so space for antennas is limited. Antenna operation could also be blocked by intervening metal structures. This could make it difficult to implement an antenna in an electronic device that contains conductive display structures, conductive housing walls, or other conductive structures that can potentially block radio-frequency signals. It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved antennas for wireless electronic devices… Now that the iPad offers 4G, the idea of the MacBook offering similar cellular-data capabilities sounds not only reasonable but inevitable.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.

Related articles:
Apple wins key multi-antenna patent covering LTE and more – April 10, 2012
Apple wins iPhone patents for location tracking, hybrid antenna, and more – January 31, 2012
Apple patent app details next-gen microstrip cellular antenna for future MacBooks, iWatch and beyond – October 25, 2011
Apple patent application reveals newly-designed iPhone antenna window – September 1, 2011
Apple wins patent for integrating cellular antennas into MacBook, iMac keyboards – August 17, 2011
Telephonic MacBooks? Apple granted U.S. patent for ‘Antennas for Electronic Devices’ – March 22, 2011
Apple patent application details ‘logo antenna’ for MacBooks, iOS and other devices – December 23, 2010


  1. LTE is shift from 3G which was for telephony. LTE is geared for data like the web. Apple waited for this and I agree, it should be a done deal in the next MacBook. At least as an option like the iPad does.

  2. Antennae in glass? Sounds a lot like the process that amutomotive companies used in the 60’s and 70’s for car radios. All things are all things new. 😀

    1. Don’t know about the 60′-70’s, it’s only in the last five years or so I’ve seen cars on the road with no external radio antenna, but with the antenna incorporated into rear side window glass like the rear heating elements.
      This development by Apple would be really good if it functions, allowing a one-piece Liquidmetal back, which could never work otherwise. Looking forward to it?

      1. I very clearly remember cars in the mid-80’s with radio antennae in the windshield. That said, I think they were a lot like the defrosters of the past; not IN the glass but stuck to it.

    2. Well it’s different in how it’s under a UI and not on top of the glass like a car 🙂 Esthetically the old metal back had an unseemly looking cut out for the antenna. So it’s a welcomed idea if they use it. The antenna in the MacBook Trackpad could do away with an antena concept. Again, if it works.

  3. Apple has hundreds of similar patents, and most of those are never used.

    One of supposedly “metal-friendly” patent was to place antenna behind Apple logo, which would be drilled through metal back plate. Apple even used this, but not that long — they had to switch back to more standard decisions, because metal around mirrors too much signal which otherwise would go to/from antenna on many angles.

    1. If they put a cellular antenna in a MacBook they’ll need to use one of the designs “derss.” So one of the patents have to be the winner.

  4. Hmmm.. so lets see if I am envisaging this correctly.
    You would have a metal back, that blocks RF signals… is that anything like reflects them?
    Presumably that back would also incorporate the sides of the phone. So then you would have… a dish.
    And in front of that, on the glass you would have the antenna???
    So what you end up with is a pretty much exactly like an old radar dish which directs all the RF energy forward – straight into your head.
    What could possibly go wrong with that… Duh.

  5. It’s the energy from the transmitter that would be of concern not the receiving dish as you put it. The amount of energy collected by the receiving dish is already wizzing through your pea sized head. It is not going to hurt you. The transmitter, on the other hand, might. Duh!

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