Apple Researching High-End Titanium MacBook Casings With Unique Textured Finish

Apple is researching the use of processed titanium with unique properties for future MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones, according to a newly-granted patent application.

matte black macbook pro colorware

In a filing titled "Titanium parts having a blasted surface texture," granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how various devices could adopt titanium casings with a distinctive textured finish.

The patent explains that anodized aluminum, used on current MacBooks and iPads, is not as hard or durable as titanium. However, the hardness of titanium makes it "very difficult to etch," meaning that it can be "aesthetically unattractive." The patent seeks to present a solution to this problem by outlining a blasting, etching, and chemical process to give a titanium enclosure a more attractive appearance.

titanium patent finish

Apple describes the textured surface as including "peaks separated by valleys," with specific micrometer measurements and gloss units. The process involves various techniques to impart "the blasted and etched titanium part with a fine-scale roughness," which allows it to retain "a high-gloss surface finish."

The "distinctive surface finish" is described as one "that both diffusely and specularly reflects visible light," and this is said to be structurally and aesthetically unlike any other conventional titanium part.

titanium patent devices

The patent also notes that this textured titanium casing would be appropriate for MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches. Apple has used titanium cases for a small number of products, such as the PowerBook G4 that was available from 2001 to 2003. Apple's first foray into titanium casings was hampered by issues such as brittleness resulting in breakages, as well as paint that easily flaked off.

titanium powerbook g4

Today, the only Apple product to use a titanium casing is the Apple Watch Edition, which appears to be much closer to the unique finish described by the patent than the titanium PowerBook G4.

applewatchtitanium

Devices with titanium enclosures would be considerably more durable, but potentially also lighter if the weight of the metal could be offset by manufacturing stronger, thinner parts.

Last month, Apple was granted a patent for a matte black MacBook Pro finish, as the company continues to research ways to move beyond standard anodized aluminum casings.

Patent applications cannot be taken as proof of what Apple is intending to bring to market and many patented concepts never reach consumer products. Nonetheless, they provide an interesting insight into what Apple is researching and developing behind the scene, and hint at what we could see in the future.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

jonnysods Avatar
20 months ago
I mean it looks amazing - price would be off the charts though surely!

I'm ok to buy an expensive Mac - but it has to translate to a computing advantage for me (ram, speed, space etc)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannys1 Avatar
20 months ago
USB-A ports and SD card readers, NAH. But THIS I can get behind.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moonjumper Avatar
20 months ago
Micro-roughness, but a high-gloss finish. I'd rather not have high-gloss as it is not as grippy, especially for an iPhone or iPad. Matte often looks better.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
20 months ago
I’d forgotten how enormous the Ti MBP was... I thought it was amazing at the time, but it looks ancient and massive now.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
20 months ago
Why don't they just go ahead and patent all of the elements?

I know, I know, this is very innovative because they're talking about taking sandpaper to titanium.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macdos Avatar
20 months ago
Unobtainium is almost twice the density of aluminium, and also a tad bit more expensive. Do we really need it?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple store security patent

Apple Stores Could Stop Thieves With New Security Measures

Tuesday January 11, 2022 7:29 am PST by
Apple is exploring new security measures for Apple retail stores in an attempt to discourage and prevent smash-and-grab robberies. In a patent titled "Product-Display System" filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, spotted by Patently Apple, Apple details a number of mechanical systems for securing iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. The proposal effectively involves...
Apple Logo Cash Feature Yellow

Apple's $1.1 Billion Patent Dispute With Caltech Granted New Damages Trial

Friday February 4, 2022 7:27 am PST by
Apple and its supplier Broadcom today convinced a U.S. appeals court to reject a jury verdict that required them to pay $1.1 billion for infringing on Wi-Fi patents that belong to the California Institute of Technology (via Reuters). In 2016, Caltech accused Apple and Broadcom of infringing on its patents related to the Wi-Fi technology used in many Apple devices. Caltech's patents, granted...
new ipad pro 11 inch

Future iPads May Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis Designs

Friday August 20, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is considering making future iPads with a titanium alloy chassis design, replacing the aluminum-based metal used in current models, according to sources cited by DigiTimes. The claim appears in a piece covering the production of the upcoming ninth-generation iPad, which will reportedly include a PVD (physical vapor deposition) application to enhance the devices' scratch resistance. Th...
Huawei P30 Pro periscope camera cross section

iPhone Periscope Camera Patent Granted Ahead of Rumored 2022 or 2023 Debut

Tuesday July 13, 2021 7:06 am PDT by
Apple has been granted a broad patent for a periscope camera system, which is rumored to be coming to the iPhone for the first time as soon as next year. The patent, spotted by Patently Apple, is simply titled "Folded camera," and was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Periscope camera systems attempt to address the problem of internal size constraints inside a...
oppo x rollable

Samsung Rumored to Launch First 'Rollable' Foldable Phone Later This Year

Thursday March 24, 2022 5:54 am PDT by
Samsung will add a third foldable device to its smartphone lineup this year that will likely feature a unique rollable form factor, according to a reliable leaker of Samsung's plans. Oppo X 2021 rollable phone concept The existing Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 have been relatively successful additions to Samsung's smartphone family, and the company reportedly plans to ship over 10...
airpods 3 in ear

Apple Could Add User Authentication to AirPods

Thursday January 27, 2022 7:05 am PST by
Apple is exploring methods to bring user authentication to AirPods, a newly published Apple patent application shows. In a patent application titled "User Identification Using Headphones," filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how it can authenticate AirPods users using other nearby devices, ultrasonic signals, voice...
apple glass enclosures patent main

Apple Researching All-Glass iPhone and Apple Watch Designs

Thursday November 18, 2021 8:55 am PST by
Apple has furthered its research on devices with all-glass enclosures, a newly granted patent filing shows. The patent, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Electronic device with glass enclosure" and was granted to Apple by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier today. The research focuses on electronic devices with six-sided glass enclosures and glass casings that...
regent street apple

Apple Threatens to Leave UK Market Due to $7 Billion Patent Dispute

Monday July 12, 2021 5:22 am PDT by
Lawyers representing Apple have suggested that the company could exit the UK market if the terms of an ongoing patent dispute are "commercially unacceptable" (via This is Money). UK patent holder Optis Cellular Technology is suing Apple for patent infringement after it refused to pay license fees worth around $7 billion for using "standardized" smartphone technology in its devices. Last...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...