The vast majority of Apple products have long been made of aluminum. It is true that we find the plastic of the Apple TV, the steel of the iPhone with the surname Pro and the Apple Watch and now also the titanium, but in general, it is aluminum is the star material for Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods Max, etc. Something that could change in the future, since Apple is investigating the types of finish that I could give titanium, a material that we could see in many new products.
A material that opens the door to interesting possibilities
The use of titanium in apple products opens the door to interesting possibilities. It is a heavier material than aluminum, but much stronger, so it can be used to make a thinner chassis than the current one. One that also needed less reinforcements. With this Apple would achieve increase, even just a little, the space available inside the devices.
An increase that would probably have little effect on a Mac, but that on devices like the Apple Watch or even the iPhone may have its importance. The patent, discovered by PatentlyApple, focuses on how give titanium a slightly grainy finish to which Apple has us accustomed in its products.
Certain types of metals, despite having great strength and rigidity, are also difficult to process to impart an attractive surface finish. Consequently, there is a need to implement techniques to process these specific types of metals. […]
This document describes various executions that generally refer to the techniques of etching a titanium part. More particularly, the described variants relate to systems and methods for restoring the glossy finish of the etched titanium piece.
A process better conceals metal defects and also ensures that it offers better protection.
The truth is that the information is quite technical, but in summary it seems that Apple has managed to create the finish it wants on the material by combining a pressure jet process with chemical anodization. According to the patent, this process better conceals metal defects and also makes it offer better protection.
The fine roughness of the etched titanium part and blasted and etched titanium part is beneficial in hiding surface defects such as weld lines and crystallographic grain structure differences. In contrast, blasting a titanium part in a conventional way does not provide advantages such as concealment of the weld lines.
According to some examples, it may be preferable to use a combination of etching and blasting process while anodizing the titanium part. In particular, the anodized layer of that etched and blasted titanium part can be protected from chemical removal (for example, from fingerprint oils) and mechanical (for example, from rubbing against objects) because the layer Anodized is embedded and submerged within the valleys of the textured surface of the anodized part that has been etched and blasted.
Beyond the details, it is clear that Apple continues to research new materials with which to make its products. Some time ago the company made the leap to aluminum, an important step that has allowed the development of the unibody concept, now with the adoption of a new material we can expect more evolution, both in the designs and, ultimately, in the performance of the different devices.