Apple Invents 'Adjustable Decoration' that could Alter the Apple Logo Color & Flash when Incoming Messages Arrive
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to future Macs and iDevices having glass enclosures or parts that could allow users to change the color of the Apple logo to their preference and have the logo flash alternative colors when different kinds of messages are incoming. The adjustable decoration could also support 3D imagery and more.
Apple's invention covers an electronic device that may have a housing in which electrical components such as a display and other components are mounted. In some configurations, the housing may include a transparent member such as a glass layer. The electronic device may be a wearable device having a housing or other support structure that is configured to be worn by a user.
Adjustable decoration may be formed on the electronic device. The adjustable decoration may serve as trim for the housing or a component mounted on the housing, may be visible through the transparent member, or may otherwise be incorporated into the electronic device. The adjustable decoration may have an appearance that is electrically adjustable by control circuitry in the electronic device.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device; FIG. 13 is a flow chart of illustrative operations involved in operating an electronic device with adjustable decoration.
A top view of illustrative adjustable decoration for device #10 is shown in Apple's patent FIG. 10 above. In the example of FIG. 10, portion #40G of adjustable decoration #40 has a first appearance (e.g., a first reflectivity, color, and/or haze), trim portions #40T have a second appearance (e.g., a second reflectivity, color, and/or haze), and logo #40L has a third appearance (e.g., a third reflectivity, color, and/or haze).
The relative appearances of each of these portions of adjustable decoration #40 can be individually varied with respect to each other and/or global appearance adjustments can be made to two or three of these portions using adjustable layer(s) that overlap (above and/or below) the fixed appearance layers.
Apple later notes in their patent filing that in some configurations, the housing may include a transparent member such as a glass layer wherein an adjustable decoration may be formed. The adjustable decoration may serve as trim for the housing or a component mounted on the housing, may be visible through the transparent member, or may otherwise be incorporated into the electronic device.
The control circuitry may measure sensor data using sensors, may gather user input from input-output devices, and may gather other information. When an appropriate event is detected such as an incoming communication, a calendar reminder, user input, activation of an electrical component such as a camera, or other event, the control circuitry can adjust the appearance of the adjustable decoration, thereby helping to notify the user and others of the occurrence of the event. The adjustable decoration can also be adjusted for aesthetic reasons.
Further to incoming communications, the appearance of adjustable decoration #40 can be adjusted (e.g., by flashing, changing once or twice, etc.) to alert the user of the presence of incoming communications or other event.
In addition, adjustable decoration #40 of FIG. 10 could present a three-dimensional shape (e.g., the shape of a ridge or other protrusion, the shape of a groove or other recess, a pyramidal shape, a conical shape, a shape with a box-shaped protrusion or recess, and/or other three-dimensional shape). Illustrative arrangements in which adjustable decoration has the form of a thin layer (e.g., a coating, etc.) are sometimes described herein as an example.
Apple's patent application that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q3 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Matt Rogers: Manager, Product Design Materials/Coatings
Marta Giachino: Product Design Engineer
James Wilson - Senior Product Design Engineer, Materials.
Wilson's Specialties: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Lithium-ion Batteries, Functional Ceramics, Thin Film Coatings, Decorative and Functional Inks, Materials Development, Alternative/Renewable Energy Technologies, 3-Dimensional Microscopy, CleanTech, Entrepreneurship and more.