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Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microslot Antennas' Allowing for Smaller Devices

Apple has been awarded a patent (via AppleInsider) for 'microslot antenna' technology, which could enable 'invisible' radio antennas to be embedded into the housing of a Mac, iPhone or iPad to save space inside and allow for more compact devices.


Notebook computer with integrated wireless antenna (20) on device housing

The antennas would use microscopic slots in the housing, with widths of just a few microns, making them almost invisible to the naked eye. The patent shows a variety of possible locations for the antennas on a laptop, though the same approach would likely be taken with iPhones and iPads also.


Top view of microslot antenna design supporting multiple frequencies

Current devices may contain antennas for GSM, 3G/LTE, GPS, wifi and Bluetooth, though some of these may be combined. The iPhone 5, for example, uses just two antennas for the five functions, using rapid frequency switching to enable one antenna to do two jobs. Eliminating the need for internal antenna space altogether would, though, allow for slimmer and smaller devices.

As TechCrunch observes, this could also create the possibility of an all-aluminum case. Apple has previously had to have a small area of glass or plastic to provide radio windows for the internal antennas. Microslot antennas would eliminate this need, perhaps leading to more Mac-like iPhones and iPads in future.

Apple's interest in the possibility of implementing microslot antennas dates back to at least 2007 when the patent was filed, meaning that the concept may be requiring significant refinement before arriving in a shipping product or may have been scrapped entirely by this point. Still, it is clear that Apple is continuing to look for ways to handle the increasing complexity of wireless communications while maintaining its design goals for size and aesthetics.

Top Rated Comments

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16 months ago
I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there. :eek:
Rating: 37 Positives
16 months ago
Good, I've been wondering when they were going to make the iPhone 5 thinner. That sucker is way too thick for me!

:rolleyes:
Rating: 8 Positives
16 months ago
I'm always simultaneously fascinated & hopeful when I see patents come through like this. Really makes me curious and optimistic as to the continued and infinite possibilities in technology.
Rating: 7 Positives
16 months ago

then that means it's not going to be seen in a product.

Something like this would have arrived in a product by 2010. Seeing that it's 2013 already, it's not going to happen. There was something fundamentally wrong with the implementation.


Or they were waiting to be granted the patent before using the technology and/or still perfecting upon it.
Rating: 6 Positives
16 months ago
go apple! iphones are too thick and heavy. i want it to be lighter be few grams and thinner by few mms
Rating: 5 Positives
16 months ago

I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there. :eek:


Let Samsung try to copy that patent :D.
Rating: 3 Positives
16 months ago
Bring 4G LTE to Mac! :)

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I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there. :eek:


Lol. Same here. :D
Rating: 3 Positives
16 months ago

Only a matter of time before someone rips this off and people here start griping that Apple is "stifling innovation." I don't even see the point of patents anymore.


Patents ENCOURAGE innovation because they protect companies that spend their own dollars on R & D.

That patent helps companies recover R & D costs. Without that patent other companies would swoop in and steal that idea at zero expense.... which would prohibit the inventor from recouping their R & D costs. If you don't have that patent protection, there is NO incentive for a company to spend billions of dollars trying to invent the next wheel. Their R & D expenses would essentially bring zero profit for them.... and would allow copycat companies a free ride. This would all STIFLE innovation by reducing the amount spent on R & D. Patents actually protect companies that work hard to find something new. Without that protection their R & D is basically a free gift to their competitors.
Rating: 2 Positives
16 months ago
Only a matter of time before someone rips this off and people here start griping that Apple is "stifling innovation." I don't even see the point of patents anymore.
Rating: 2 Positives
16 months ago

This is great news. It proves that Apple took Antennagate seriously & decided to learn to build high quality functional antennas. I wonder how long it will take for them to implement the new design.


If you read the article, it says that Apple had been investigating this back in 2007. Way before "atennagate"
Rating: 2 Positives

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