Apple is known for challenging the conventions of personal technology with its computers, smartphones and tablets. But the company’s latest innovation may not be the water-spewing Apple Watch Series 2 or even the headphone-redefining iPhone 7.
It’s actually the bag you use to carry them out of the store.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company submitted a patent application last week for those white, rectangular shopping bags made from bleached sulfate paper. You know, the ones that tell passersby that you may or may not have spent an entire paycheck on whatever’s inside.
In the patent, Apple outlines in detail the features that make its bag superior to others.
For one, at least 60 percent of the bleached sulfate paper used in the construction of Apple bags comes from recycled material. Similar bags use roughly 40 to 50 percent, the patent states. What’s more, the bleached sulfate paper provides a “sophisticated fit and finish” compared to the “rough and dull fit and finish” of craft paper bags. Burn.
Because recycled bags can tear more easily than those made of new material, Apple explains in great length how it has reinforced potential weak points in the bag. This includes a “collar” around the opening of its retail bags where the sulfate paper is folded over to provide added structure.
The patent also highlights the bag’s handles. They are made of paper fibers that are knitted together and have the look and feel of shoelaces, meaning they are soft to the touch and droop below the top of the bag when not in hand. Typical paper handles are inflexible and stand up straight.
For those who enjoy legalese, the full patent can be read here.
It’s unclear why Apple feels the need to protect its bag from copycats. Apple filed a provisional patent application for the bag in March. A spokeswoman said Apple does not comment on patents.
Read more from The Washington Post’s Innovations section.