Apple patent document shows unibody, sheet metal iPod

Apple has been exploring the prospect of an iPod model with a unified enclosure similar to the “unibody” MacBook and MacBook Pro computers, an patent filing discovered by MacNN disclosed today. In the course of discussing the design, which would use inexpensive, cost-saving sheet metal “formed in such a way that the final part looks like it was machined down from a large thick slab of material,” Apple offers a roughly sketched example of an iPod classic that features the same sharp, seamless body lines as the third-generation iPod shuffle and metal MacBooks, while preserving the screen, Click Wheel, headphone port, and Hold switch placement found in fifth- and sixth-generation hard disk-based iPods. Notably, even the substantially aluminum current-generation iPod nanos still rely on plastic top and bottom pieces, and no full-sized iPod has previously done away with the polished steel housing originally developed by Apple for the 2001 first-generation model. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.

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