Apple patent signals end of iPhone’s ugly plastic strips

“A new Apple patent has been published, which could provide a hint about how a future version of the iPhone may not have to include those plastic strips on the rear panel,” Andy Boxall reports for Digital Trends. “Apple is forced to use the plastic inserts to ensure the phone’s antennas operate correctly, because the anodized aluminum body doesn’t let radio signals pass through it.”

“The patent is for a ‘non-capacitive or radio frequency-transparent material with anodized metal appearance,’ a very descriptive title that tells us almost all we need to know,” Boxall reports. “Apple’s idea is to make a composite material that looks and feels like the metal covering an iPhone today, but which doesn’t need any plastic strips running across it to make the phone part work normally.”

“Apple calls the creation of devices that require radio wave transparency a ‘design challenge,’ and at the moment the visible plastic in metal or glass surfaces ‘can detract from the smooth and continuous look of the metallic housing,'” Boxall reports. “In other words. Apple hates the fact it can’t make the already pretty sleek iPhone completely free of ugly design compromises.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Those plastic strips don’t really bother us. They’re rather ingenious, hardy, and well-applied, actually, but at this point, whatever floats Jony Ive’s boat when it comes to hardware design is okay with us – especially if a more seamless design can lead to better water resistance for iPhones.


  1. I found those white strips to be unattractive on the gold model, but the gray and silver, I don’t even notice them. But I haven’t seen my little plastic strips in months, the phone being in a case anyway.

  2. This patent does not really signal it as it is basically about a composite material, which is, in principle, not a new thing, and if Apple wanted, they could use it already years ago.

    The issue is that composite material does not look and feel as good as metal and dissipates heat way worse than metal (thermal throttling with lowering of frequency of SoC would be an issue).

  3. Are we all just pretending that they weren’t on the HTC one before the iPhone? I’m an apple guy all the way like everyone else (MacBook pro retina, iPhone 6, iPad Air, Apple Watch Stainless steel 38mm, not to mention I’m 17 and pay for all of this myself) but those look just like the HTCs plastic inlays. If I were Apple Id be looking for a workaround to that ASAP to differentiate myself from the competition. If you’re generous enough to call it “competition” I suppose.

  4. What is MDN going to do when Apple releases IOS9 to us all and blocks their site off crappy adds just like this one? Yay I cant wait, im soooo fukin sick of these shitty adds MDN. just like Google your all about adds!

  5. It seems this material would be great to be used in place of the current antenna gap filler. That way to the user, the back looks like 1 piece but is not. This being different than using this material for the entire casing.

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