updated 08:50 am EST, Thu November 30, 2006
Apple Cellphone Patent
Apple is in the later stages of finalizing its cellphone design, according to a US patent granted to the company this morning. The patent, which refers to a radio-transparent "handheld computing device" cellphone and media player combination, was only filed on August 7th of this year and appears to confirm key aspects of the company's hotly anticipated iPhone design. As described, the future device will greatly resemble the iPod mini and second-generation iPod nano, consisting of a "seamless tube" of a material such as aluminum that houses internal components for both media playback and wireless communications, including a hidden antenna.
Notably, though included illustrations show a design nearly identical to the iPod mini, Apple takes care to note that the control scheme is not limited to the company's signature click wheel and may include input devices such as a cellphone keypad, a trackball similar to that of the BlackBerry Pearl, or others that suit the needs of the future phone. While the filing provides new insight into the iPhone's aesthetics, questions still remain about software functions such as iChat-style messaging and exact controls. A photo from the patent follows after the jump.