There's nary a thing more exciting than unboxing a new gadget. Whether it's a phone or an MP3 player, we're so in love with that intoxicating new-electronics smell and the screen protector put in place to protect the most sensitive part of the device from scratches and scrapes during shipping.
Unfortunately, as most of us know all too well, once you peel back that little scrap of plastic, it's only a matter of time before your new toy gets dropped for the first time; with that first drop begins the slow descent into 'used gadget' territory. Marks will start to appear, as if from nowhere, and you'll have no clue where they came from. Eventually you'll learn to love the weathered and beaten charm your phone has taken on, but when friends show off their new toys, you'll still stare wistfully at the picture-perfect, blemish-free casing.
Dented, cracked gadgets could soon be a thing of the past, though. At least, they could for Apple users. The Cupertino-based company is said to be experimenting with ways to make electronics scratch resistant and a recent patent application filing shows that they've arrived upon cheap nitride coatings as a cost-effective solution.
"In addition to providing a durable, hard surface that is both scratch and impact resistant, the nitride layer allows for the natural surface color and texture of the underlying stainless steel to remain visible to the user," AppleInsider quotes from the patent application, which was filed in April of this year.
"It is this natural surface color and texture of the stainless steel that adds to the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the consumer electronic product, thereby enhancing the user's overall experience."
AI goes on to report that the application describes a variety of methods to place the nitride on the surface, where the material would be at least 15 microns thick and carry a Vickers Hardness value of at least 1,000.
I'm glad Apple gadgets will be more durable and scratch resistant but I know my Nexus One is sad that Google didn't think of this first and before I bought it. Sorry, Andy. At least no one is blowing you up with a firecracker.