Spatial Composites: Apple is building scratch-resistant iPhones

With Spatial Composites Apple is working on scratch-resistant backs for iPhones and iPads to make protective covers redundant.
Apple iPhone scratch resistant

Apple’s future iPhones could reportedly become scratch and abrasion resistant. According to Patently Apple, the Cupertino-based tech giant has received a new patent for a material called “spatial composites” from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Most Apple devices, like iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and MacBooks, are prone to scratches. Therefore, as with other manufacturers, people have become accustomed to resorting to protective covers that destroy the aesthetics. With Spatial Composites, Apple is working on scratch-resistant backs that should make protective cases superfluous.

According to US Patent No. 11,678,445 B2, Apple is working on developing a scratch-resistant back panel made from abrasion-resistant materials. The document lists Christopher Prest, Stephen Lynch, and Teodor Dabov as inventors of spatial composites. All three are Apple engineers. In the patent, Apple explains different materials used in the manufacture of smartphones and their respective scratch resistance compared to electromagnetic shielding. Plastic doesn’t interfere with the wireless connection, but it’s not very scratch-resistant. Although metal is scratch-resistant, it affects the wireless connection. Finally, ceramic is scratch-resistant and doesn’t affect connectivity, but it’s not as strong.

The patent then elaborates on spatial composites, which are said to be metal and ceramic composites with scratch-resistant properties, superior durability and minimal degradation. According to the patent, the resulting substrate material will have a formable matrix, with the metal and ceramic spaced between 10 and 100 microns.

Apple already has Crystal Shield technology to protect the displays from scratches. Spatial Composites could now ensure that the backs are also protected. Thus, iPhones less than a year old could look better in the future than in the tweet above.

So far, however, the company has only patented the composite material. It could take years before the first iPhone with a spatial composite back comes out. Until then, there is no way around a protective cover for most users.

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