Apple's wild new iPhone design is, erm, unexpected

From camera upgrades to subtle design tweaks, most iPhone rumours follow a fairly standard pattern. But every now and again we see something truly surprising – and this latest leak falls squarely into that category.

Yep, we're looking at another leaked Apple patent filing. This time, it looks like the company is working on an iPhone that borrows one of the most controversial (and most memed) design touches from one of our best computers for graphic design.

Apple iPhone patent

A screenshot from Apple's new patent filing (Image credit: iClarified)

According to the filing, spotted by Patently Apple, a future iPhone could take design inspiration from the current Mac Pro – a machine whose aesthetic is commonly compared with that of a cheese grater. Illustrations reveal an iPhone featuring the latticed design around its edges, and Apple suggests the design could be expanded to other devices such as even the Apple Watch.

Apple claims the design to be a solution to the problem of heat management. "Recent advances in electronic devices have enabled high levels of performance," the company says, but most current form factors are unable to "effectively distribute or reject heat generated by the electronic device to the surrounding environment".

Mac Pro

Your next iPhone could look like... this (Image credit: Apple)

Mac Pro Wheels

What's next? iPhone wheels? (Image credit: Apple)

Apple also suggests that the design can improve the overall strength of the device, without adding weight – resulting in "a relatively lightweight, yet extremely strong and stiff electronic device". (Sounds grate.)

Honestly? When we first saw this, we thought it was an April Fool. An iPhone sporting a Mac Pro-inspired design sounds frankly ridiculous – indeed, both products exist at opposite ends of Apple's product spectrum, with the latter aimed squarely at power users with a lot of cash to burn. What next? An iPhone with $699 wheels? What's more, an iPhone with hundreds of tiny holes sounds an absolute nightmare to clean.

Of course, this is just a patent. Apple is likely just exploring the idea – and if it ever does come to fruition, it might look entirely different to the illustrations in the filing. We certainly doubt the iPhone 13 is going to feature the cheese grater look. That said, judging by the iPhone 13 leaks we've seen so far, there could certainly be some design surprises in store this year.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.