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A cheese grater iPhone may be Apple’s worst-ever design idea

Despite its reputation for creative excellence, Apple has had some notable design blunders, from the butterfly keyboard to the upside-down-charging Magic Mouse. But a recently granted Apple patent might top the lot: a cheese grater iPhone.

That’s right, it looks like Apple is at least considering bringing the hole-filled design famously included in the Mac Pro to other devices. But while the design works wonders for Apple’s massively powerful computer, helping it keep incredibly cool and quiet under weighty workloads, we are more than a little doubtful when it comes to other Apple products.

For one thing, poking an iPhone full of holes would either mean its water resistance would take a precipitous dive or the thickness would increase to allow for the ball-cutout design while backing it with a frame that is, you know, sealed against water. And what about dust and fluff? Even putting the device in your pocket could see its cutouts clogging up with all manner of unwanted cruft.

More sensibly, Apple is also considering making this latticed design part of the internal structure of an iPhone, which could improve the strength of your device without punching a bunch of cavities into its outer housing. How this would fit into the incredibly tightly packed internals of Apple’s phone is anyone’s guess, though.

If you reckon Apple is playing an early April Fools’ Day joke here, your belief is not likely to be weakened when you see what else the company has considered outfitting the cheese-grater design onto: The trashcan Mac Pro. Apple has admitted that product was thermally throttled by its design, but it is unlikely it will be resurrected any time soon, as the next Mac Pro is said to resemble a souped-up, taller Mac Mini.

Keeping your device cool

Apple cheese grater design for the iPhone
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In fairness to Apple, there would be some benefits of bringing the cheese grater design to a wider slew of products. Notably, Apple claims it would offer “enhanced levels of heat removal,” allowing for significant performance gains for the electronic device and can allow for the use of components or operating levels that heretofore may not have been achievable with existing three-dimensional structures.” In other words, your iPhone would stay cooler and run faster.

We doubt Apple will ever implement such a system, though. Aside from the questionable looks and practicality of the design, it may simply be unnecessary. Apple’s ARM-based chips are known to be extremely efficient when it comes to staying cool, and that is only likely to improve as time goes on. What is more likely is that Apple is simply researching how such a system might work in practice to help it work on something a little more sensible.

Still, it is fun to see what a crack engineering squad can come up with when it has the deepest pockets in the tech biz and too much time on its hands. One question remains, though: What must Jony Ive be thinking now?

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