Why did Apple patent a pizza box with holes?

By Anusha Bhagat

Most of us would have never given it a thought: If pizza is round, why are pizza boxes square? Yet, for anyone who has, the answer is pretty simple. Square boxes are easier to design, manufacture and store. Furthermore, the space left at the corners of the box makes it easy to lift a slice of pizza. In a move that few would have anticipated, Apple has turned to pizza through a patented circular pizza box. It adds a series of holes in the round container that allows air to escape, thereby preventing sogginess in the pizza.

What does the patent hold?

Interestingly, the company filed for the patent way back in 2010. However, it began to garner attention only recently when Steven Levy of Wired toured the facility at Apple Park. It is interesting how a fascinating finding of Apple’s New $5 Billion and 2.8 million-square-foot office (or spaceship) is a pizza box.

Rings on the bottom support the base of the pizza while creating a gap. This also prevents the bottom from getting mushed up. The sidewall is reinforced to prevent the box from getting easily crushed. The patent also claims that the container is environmentally friendly, as it “can be fabricated from various types of re-used material along the lines of moulded fibre”. Among the inventors named on the patent are Francesco Longoni, head of Apple’s Food Service Team.

Not a first for Apple

This isn’t the first time Apple has ventured out of the arena of groundbreaking technology. In March 2016, the company filed a patent application for a regular paper bag with handles. The application defines the bag as “a retail paper bag, comprising: a bag container formed of white paper with at least 60% post-consumer content”.

Furthermore, the application says that the paper bag has “the potential exception of adhesives for fixing together portions of the bag. This can help to reduce any environmental impact from production, use, and disposal of the bag. The bag may be formed of a container and a handle.”

Apple is reportedly using the bag in its stores for a few months now, just like it has been using the circular pizza boxes in its headquarters.

Still a part of the bigger picture

This invention is just a classic case of reading between the lines. The pizza box encapsulates the powerful vision that forms the company’s foundation: to see things differently; to aspire for innovation and quality. It is not just about creating round pizza boxes, it is about creating solutions.

Jony Ive, Apple’s design guru, perhaps best captured how these sideline innovations fit into Apple’s larger vision:

“We’re amortising this in an entirely different way,” Ive says. “We don’t measure this in terms of numbers of people. We think about it in terms of the future. The goal was to create an experience and an environment that felt like a reflection of who we are as a company. This is our home, and everything we make in the future is going to start here.”

We would have to wait and watch to see what this invention holds for the future of the pizza box. What if this marks the beginning of a new wave in the Silicon Valley? This could be an indicator of the fact that solely being innovators in the world of technology may not be enough.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels