Apple wins a Patent for Illuminated Input Formations that could be used on MacBooks, next-gen CarPlay cluster, a Game Machine, TV+
Earlier this morning, Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple wins a MacBook patent that eliminates the physical keyboard & trackpad and allows the user to reconfigure its working surface.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a newly granted patent on the same subject matter titled “Illuminated Input Devices.” This invention is a likely a precursor to the Apple’s more ambitious reconfigurable MacBook.
In Apple’s granted patent 11,360,258 they describe a MacBook that you could for instance, add illuminated buttons to the palm rest area as noted in-part in our cover graphic, representing patent FIG. 1.
Apple’s concept could apply to Apple’s future in-vehicle dashboard cluster, on a future Apple Monitor, a television, a gaming device, an iPhone, HomePod and other future devices. The surface where the illuminated buttons may appear could be aluminum, stainless steel, glass, ceramics and more.
Apple’s granted patent states that the input-output devices may include input devices such as buttons. Buttons may be formed from capacitive touch sensor electrodes and other components that receive input from a user. An electronic device may have buttons, other input-output devices, and other structures that are provided with illuminated symbols. Illuminated symbols may serve as labels and may provide output such as status information to a user.
A portion of the housing of the electronic device or other structures in the device may include a transparent layer. The transparent layer may be provided with opaque masking structures having a symbol-shaped opening. The symbol-shaped opening may be illuminated to form the illuminated symbol.
The symbol-shaped opening may be aligned with a capacitive touch sensor electrode for a button or other input device. The symbol-shaped opening may be adjacent to the electrode and may be illuminated with light from a lighting system. The lighting system may include a light guide plate.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1 below is a perspective view of a portion of an illustrative electronic device having an illuminated input device; FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device of the type that may have one or more illuminated symbols for input-output devices or other structures in the electronic device.
Apple’s paten FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the illustrative illumination system of the type that may be used to illuminate symbol #24 of FIG. 1 or other suitable symbols or structures in device #10 (MacBook +).
For details and more patent figures, review granted patent 11,360,258