Blog Post

Apple Seeks U.S. Patent for Combo Mobile Phone, IPod

OK, now we’re getting warm… Bloomberg reports that Apple has filed a patent for “a device that may combine a mobile phone with its iPod music player”. Details of the actual patent aren’t given but it appears to be around “a new casing for a wireless device that can operate as an iPod and a mobile phone”. “Apple’s application describes a “tube-like” device made using zirconia and alumina and that would be “cost effective, smaller, lighter, stronger and aesthetically more pleasing than current” designs…Using those ceramic materials would result in a “highly scratch-resistant surface,” according to the application. Zirconia could be used to create cases in a variety of colors, including white, black, navy blue, ivory, brown, dark blue, light blue, platinum and gold”.
Which has led to analysts claiming it is a dead cert that Apple will launch an iPhone at the coming MacWorld. Sure, they’ve been saying that for well over a year now, but this patent sounds a lot more promising than previous indicators — of course, there’s still an odds-on chance it won’t be launched, since Jobs isn’t going to let it out of the cage until it’s really ready…and one patent does not an iPhone make.
Piper Jaffray Co.’s Gene Munster said Apple is trying to “build a patent moat” around the device, which is probably necessary. The main thing the iPhone promises is its design, and copying successful mobile phone designs is rampant in the industry. There’s the user interface too, of course, but that’s not as big a factor in customer’s phone choice as it should be.
Personally, I’m not that interested in what the iPhone looks like or how it works, I’m far more interested in the business model Apple will follow in selling it.