Apple Patent points to Possible Future iDevices, Macs, Wearables like Smartglasses, having illuminated Borders
Today, the last official patent day of 2021, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to possible future iDevices (iPad, iPhone), Macs and wearables, such as smartglasses, having illuminated edges that could spill over to the sides and present illuminated icons, text and more.
Apple patent filing describes pixel-free border areas that run along the edges on the array of pixels may be provided with an edge illuminator. The edge illuminator may provide illumination to the border areas during operation of the device.
The edge illuminator may have crystalline semiconductor light-emitting diode dies. The crystalline semiconductor light-emitting dies may be mounted on printed circuit substrates and may extend in a ring around the pixel array and/or may fill a notch in the pixel array. In some arrangements, the printed circuit may be rigid and may have staggered layers and/or a locally thinned region.
If desired, the edge illuminator may be formed using liquid crystal devices or electrophoretic components. Arrangements in which the edge illuminator has a light guide that is supplied with illumination from light-emitting diodes may also be used.
To accommodate curved edge portions in the electronic device, the edge illuminator may have light-emitting diodes mounted on an elastomeric mesh-shaped substrate or other flexible substrate. The flexible substrate may bend to accommodate curved edge portions of the device and/or corners having surfaces with compound curvature.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device that includes a new "Edge Illuminator;" FIG. 2 is a front view of an iPad with its border being illuminated.
Apple's patent FIG. 21 above illustrates is a top view of a corner of an iPad with a display and illuminated border.
Apple's patent FIG. 22 below is a perspective view of an illustrative edge portion of an iDevice showing how the edge portion may display content that is illuminated (text, icons etc.); FIG. 29 illustrates how the illuminated boarder will work around Apple's Notch where Face ID and other cameras and sensors reside.
In one illustrative configuration, edge illuminator 20 has a flexible substrate such as substrate 60 of FIG. 4 above. The substrate may be a flexible polymer layer without openings and/or may be formed from a layer with openings such as openings #62 (e.g., to form a mesh shape for substrate). The substrate may be formed from polyimide, an elastomeric material such as silicone, and/or other flexile substrate material.
In arrangements in which edge illuminator has multiple individually adjustable areas, these areas may be adjusted to match the intensity and/or color of nearby portions of the image on display and/or may be adjusted to create text, icons, and/or other patterns of visual content. The edge illuminator may also produce illumination that is indicative of incoming messages, expiration of timers (alarms), and/or other events that may or may not be associated with content on display.
For more details, review Apple's patent application 20210408169. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Apple's inventors include Dinesh Mathew, Director of Product Design and 20-year veteran; and Paul Wang, Architect, Product Design and one of the most creative in thinking of new to market ideas. Wang was behind the cool all-glass iMac, VR Headset Finger Accessories and many more.