During Apple’s September 2023 event, materials science engineer Isabel Yang stated that the new iPhone 15 Pro uses grade 5 titanium in its structure. Greg Joswiak referred to it as “the most premium material Apple has ever used on the iPhone.” This new structure certainly looks like a tech enthusiast’s dream. However, many fans of the brand don’t know why Apple specifically chose grade 5 titanium. Does it have some special properties that make it a superior choice for smartphone design compared to other types of titanium?
iPhone 15: this is why Apple chose grade 5 titanium
Titanium alloy is known for being incredibly strong and lightweight compared to other materials. However, it appears that not all titanium is created equal. There are four different variations of this super metal and each of them has different properties. Some are used in surgeries due to their resistance to corrosion. Others are known for their ability to be welded efficiently, or are used for their resistance to extreme temperatures. It appears that Apple chose grade 5 titanium because it is known as the strongest.
The truth is that grade 5 titanium is known as the “workhorse” grade of titanium due to its superior tensile strength. It is, therefore, the most popular variety and is estimated to represent around half of all titanium production in the world. It is typically used in medical, marine, aerospace and chemical processing applications, but it also has many other uses. Manufacturers have used grade 5 titanium in everything from sports equipment to aircraft turbines.
Lots of resistance
During the event, Yang stated that grade 5 titanium is “an alloy that has an even higher tensile strength than pure titanium. It is typically reserved for applications where the balance between strength, shape and weight is especially critical. In fact, this is the same alloy used in the Mars Rover.” As if the material used to collect samples from the fourth rock from the sun didn’t speak for itself, she later talked about the fact that this alloy has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios found in any metal.
It seems this is the main reason why Apple chose it. Grade 5 titanium is strong and light, which allowed the technology company to design the iPhone 15 Pro with a thinner, lighter and more durable structure. It is thanks to this alloy that the new smartphone has a smaller profile that does not sacrifice structural integrity. All this while reducing the weight of the final product and maintaining the same screen size.