The company notes that electronic devices such as cellular telephones, handheld computers, and portable music players often include housings with glass members. For example, a device with a display may have a glass cover that serves as a protective layer and in some devices, a rear housing surface may be formed from a layer of glass.
Typically, device housing structures are formed from cover glass layers and housing surfaces that are sufficiently strong to prevent damage during accidental impact events. For example, most portable devices should be able to withstand a typical drop event without incurring significant damage. Glass strength and device aesthetics can sometimes be enhanced by using sufficiently thick glass layers. However, modifications must be made to ensure that the device does not become heavy and bulky.
To overcome these concerns, Apple outlines an improved glass structure for electronic devices.
The glass housing structures may cover a front face of an electronic device and, if desired, may cover additional device surfaces. The glass housing structure may have multiple glass pieces that are joined using a glass fusing process. A peripheral glass member may be fused along the edge of a planar glass member to enhance the thickness of the edge. A rounded edge feature may be formed by machining the thickened edge. Raised fused glass features may surround openings in the planar glass member. Raised support structure ribs may be formed by fusing glass structures to the planar glass member.
Multiple planar glass members may be fused together to form a five-sided box in which electronic components may be mounted. Display structures and other internal components may be slid into place between opposing glass sides of the box. Opaque masking material and colored glass may be used to create portions of the glass housing structures that hide internal device components from view.
More details can be found in the full patent filing linked below...
Read More [via AppleInsider]