Apple to Enter the Vaporizer Industry?
During my time working with eCig One, I have seen some interesting technologies take shape in the world of vaporizers. I’ve seen wax concentrates appear, and then I’ve seen vaporizers appear for those concentrates. I’ve seen the electronic cigarette appear — a device largely inspired by vaporizers — and then I’ve seen vaporizer manufacturers take one cue after another from the e-cigarette industry in the development of new products. One thing that I didn’t think I’d ever see, though, is a patent application for a new vaporizer technology from Apple.
How many times have you seen a reviewer call a vaporizer the “iPhone of vaping?” Maybe a real iVape is actually around the corner.
The Problem: Packing a Dry Herb Vaporizer Is Hard
Packing a dry herb vaporizer in such a way that you get a consistent vaping experience from beginning to end is not easy. You need to pack the chamber tightly enough to maximize herb-to-oven contact, but you need to pack it loosely enough to not restrict airflow. While you vape, you may need to shake the vaporizer or stir the chamber to avoid leaving some of your material unused. The need to keep the material moving makes dry herb vaporizers less user friendly than they could be.
Apple’s Solution: A Vaporizer That Does the Packing for You
On July 20, 2016, inventor Tetsuya Ishikawa of Apple filed a patent application for a new vaporizer technology in which the chamber of the device has a moving plate at the top. The plate produces the heat that vaporizes the material, and it automatically pushes the material down as the vaporization process consumes it. Apple’s technology would also turn solid substances into vapor via sublimation. Since the plate would automatically push down and condense the material, it could conceivably make proper vaporizer packing unnecessary. You’d simply throw your material into the chamber, and the plate would do the rest.
Who Is Tetsuya Ishikawa?
Tetsuya Ishikawa is a serial inventor. A quick search of Google Patents turns up 453 applications bearing his name. Ishikawa has invented — or contributed to — technologies in fields as varied as batteries, personal grooming, stem cells, wearable computers and more. Currently, he is a senior manager at Apple. For a serial inventor, developing technologies with immediate commercial viability isn’t always that important.
So, Are We Ever Going to See an iVape?
Probably not. Apple tends not to comment about its ongoing R&D projects, but the company most likely isn’t in a rush to return to its ’70s roots. More importantly, the vaporizer market simply isn’t large enough for a company like Apple to bother with. Apple’s path to further growth will most likely involve entering an industry such as television or automobiles. It is possible, though, that vaporizers in the near future could contain a bit of Apple’s DNA. A heated compression plate is a clever solution to a problem that almost everyone faces when using dry herb vaporizers. It seems logical to imagine that a vaporizer manufacturer might one day license this patent and use the technology to create a vaporizer that doesn’t require a complicated packing procedure. It’s also likely that this technology would be of interest to companies in the medical industry. Apple’s invention could lead to the development of pharmaceutical vaporizers that are more user friendly than anything presently on the market.