All-Glass Apple iPhone Pros and Cons

On February 20, 2020, Apple Inc. filed a United States Patent Application for an electronic device with a full glass enclosure.

US Patent No. 20200057525 essentially describes a possible or potential Apple iPhone that has all six sides - front, back, left panel, right panel, top, and rear - covered by no other material than glass. (source)

Based on the document, the shell of this All-Glass iPhone may look and feel seamless or appear to be crafted from a single piece of glass but it can also be made from many separate pieces attached together.

Interestingly, Apple credits Christopher D. Prest and Peter N. Russell-Clarke as the inventors of this product concept. Prest appears in excess of 130 previous patents, including ones for "Glass Fastening and Sealing Systems," and "Multiple-Element Light-Bending Structures for Minimizing Display Borders." On the other hand, Russell-Clarke is in more than 30 prior patents, including "Glass Device Housings" as well as "Fused opaque and Clear Glass For Camera or Display Window."

Apple Patent for iPhone, All Glass iPhone

In this era of button-less handsets like Vivo NEX 3 and foldable smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, this concept doesn't only sound realistic but also highly feasible.

However, the question is, should Apple push through with the idea? From a consumer perspective, I think the concept comes with advantages and disadvantages that have to be explored further by the Cupertino company.

Personally, I think these are the Pros of an All-Glass iPhone:

1. This concept can effectively eliminate the idea of correct handset orientation. If the face of the phone is made entirely of glass with no noticeable holes for camera, earpiece, or mouthpiece and if the display can flip based on how the device is held, then the user won't have to worry if he or she holding the handet by its top or bottom side.

2. The elimination of physical buttons on the sides of an iPhone in favor of touch or force sensitive keys can make way for new uses for all these panels. App icons, navigation buttons, and other information can be displayed on all sides of the device for easy access of the user, among many other executions.

3. An All-Glass iPhone is a good foundation for an All-Screen iPhone, in which the front and back panels can interchange. Such a device will herald a new era in the way consumers use their handsets and will also challenge developers to come up with new applications and games to take advantage of the new platform.

Now, let me share some of the Cons or disadvantages of an All-Glass iPhone:

1. Even in its current Glass-Metal-Glass sandwich design language, the Apple iPhone is arguably one of the most fragile handset models in the market. Hence, unless its enclosure is made of ultra-tough Sapphire glass (because diamond is certainly not in the realm of reality), an All-Glass iPhone should score very low in terms of durability.

2. In terms of ergonomics, an All-Glass iPhone won't be the easiest device to hold in the hand or to keep in the pocket -- and if you put a case on it for improved grip, then you will effectively cover its gorgeous aesthetics, which is one of its stellar advantages that I should have mentioned above.

3. Round, slippery, and only supporting wireless charging, an All-Glass iPhone will be requiring a whole set of accessories and peripherals for use at home, in the office, and inside the car. While this can be good for Apple and other brands that make accessories for the Cupertino company's products, this would mean more expenses for Apple fans who have already invested in accessories for their current iPhones.

4. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB currently sells for PHP 95,990 here in the Philippines. Imagine how much an ultra-premium All-Glass Apple iPhone could cost. If such a device would surface, my guesstimate its SRP would be the in the range of PHP 150,000 to PHP 200,000. Yes, it will be one heck of an expensive gadget. But hey, if there are people who are willing to buy bags worth PHP 1,000,000 and above, I'm sure that they are Apple fans won't think twice about shelling out that much money to be seen as "the coolest".

How about you? What do you think are the pros and cons of an All-Glass Apple iPhone? Is it the right time for Apple to release such a product? Let me know your thoughts by leaving them in the comment section below or by messaging me on social media.

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