The market for 3D printing technology is growing fast. In fact, it’s expected to reach as much as $30 billion by the year 2020 according to a market research report published by Markets and Markets. It’s no surprise that the 3D printing industry is predicted to grow so rapidly, especially considering all the useful things that can be created using this technology, from bionic limbs and entire buildings, to jet engine parts and even robots. Some of the main companies involved in the 3D printing industry include Hewlett-Packard, Proto Labs, 3D Systems and Stratasys. One name notably absent from that list is Apple – could the technology behemoth be delving into 3D printing any time soon?
Patent for a 3D Printer
Back in May 2014, Apple submitted a patent for a 3D printer that could not only print an object, but apply different colors to it as it was being printed. The patent appears to be aimed at getting more industries and households to use quality 3D printers by improving the technology behind these printers. Most 3D printers only work with a single color because of technological limitations, though there are several companies that are getting round this. What Apple’s patent proposes is a two-nozzle system, with one for the material and the other for applying colors. The patent also mentions that the process of coloring objects created by 3D printers must be ‘inexpensive’ – in other words, Apple wouldn’t want to develop something so expensive that people would be put off buying it.
Calm Before the Storm
While the patent was submitted in 2014, as of May 2017 there’s still no official word from Apple about whether the company is going to launch its very own affordable 3D printer or not. The company has clearly taken an interest in the rapidly growing industry, so it may just be a matter of time before it attempts to claim a stake of what could well be the next big technological revolution. While numerous companies are already offering 3D printers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple’s 3D printer was developed to be sold at competitive prices – after all, if the company wants the use of 3D printers to expand into new businesses and households, its 3D printer has to be among the most affordable if it’s to have as big an impact as the company would surely want it to.
Right now, whether Apple will launch a 3D printer is a matter of speculation. The company has clearly shown an interest in this industry, but nothing official has been announced just yet.