Apple really does not want you to open up your iPhone.
A patent application revealed yesterday that Apple is seeking to patent a radio-transparent glass enclosure for portable media devices. The news means that future iPods and iPhones could come encased entirely in glass.
The process described in the patent application suggests Apple would create glass tubes, into which they would insert the internal components of a device. A "laser frit bonding process" would then hermetically seal glass endcaps on the top and bottom. The image below demonstrates the concept:
The glass would allow wireless communications to pass through it, of course.
While I can't say I prefer hardware that is not able to be taken apart, this does conform to Apple's ideals of a self-contained, uniform product. And having a waterproof phone would be a life-changing moment for smartphone users. This does raise the question of where a headphone jack would be located. Could Apple be planning for a wireless-headphone future?
But perhaps Apple is, as they always seem to be, thinking far ahead on the design curve here. We might all be playing Angry Birds Space on our new iBalls soon: