Apple Has Patented Some Sort of Vaporizer

What if they called it the “iVape?” Like the iPhone? But for a vape. Oh, man. Photo: U.S. Patent Office

A common refrain about the current state of Apple products is that Steve Jobs would have hated them. But a patent, first spotted by Digital Trends, for some sort of vaporizer seems like something Jobs maybe would have been into. Jobs, who took LSD 10 to 15 times and smoked weed for about five years in the ’70s, once said that taking LSD was “one of the most important things in my life.”

The patent describes a device in which a “substance” is placed underneath a heating plate, where steady temperature allows all of the substance below to either vaporize or sublimate, with the plate slowly pushing down as more of the substance is consumed.

Unfortunately, after reading further through the patent, it seems unlikely that Apple is building the e-cigarette that would allow you to become the ultimate cloud chaser or some sort of ultrasleek “it just works” version of the Volcano. Like many of the patents Apple (and many other tech companies) file, just what the device would actually be for is pretty opaque — patents mainly describe process, not so much intent.

That said, it doesn’t appear that Apple is patenting something meant to vaporize a substance and then allow a user to draw it into their lungs. For one, the heating plate at the bottom is meant to slowly lower as more of the “substance” is vaporized — which would suggest some sort of liquid. Which, sure, could be the “juice” used in electronic cigarettes. But there’s also the fact that while the lid at top of the device may have “outlets allowing the vapor to be drawn out,” further in the patent it’s clear the lid is mainly meant to make the device airtight — with the possible outlets meant more for tubing running along the side of the device to aid in temperature regulation, less for taking massive rips.

Finally, the Apple employee who filed the patent, Tetsuya Ishikawa, appears to work mainly in nanotechnology. Previous patents filed by Ishikawa include “magnet assembly for plasma containment,” “in-situ substrate temperature measurement scheme in plasma reactor,” and “plasma reactor using inductive RF coupling, and processes.” Building Apple’s first foray into the consumer vaping market and going from plasma to pot would be, uh, a departure for Ishikawa’s career to date.

So what is this patent actually going to be used for? Temperature regulation is an important part of computing, though it’s difficult to imagine how a device that will slowly vaporize a substance at a steady temperature would aid in that. Most likely, this will be used in semicondutor manufacturing, in which various types of materials are vaporized to be used as a method of applying thin films of substances like silicon to a chip. So your hopes for a vape of the future may have just gone up in smoke.

Apple Has Patented Some Sort of Vaporizer