According to details shared, a new matte black option could be coming to the iPhone and MacBook models in the future, as the Cupertino company has been granted a patent that would allow the company to produce its smartphones, laptops, tablets, and A dark version of the smartwatch. The patent documents released by the United States Patent Office (USPTO) on Tuesday. While original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Apple, have introduced devices with matte finishes in the past, creating devices in dark colors (such as black) has proven challenging.

US Patent 11751349-B2On Tuesday, Apple was granted a patent titled “Anodized Component Having a Matte Black Appearance,” and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office credits James Curran, Aaron Paterson, and Sonja Postak as inventors of the technology. The document published by the patent office also shows that Apple filed the patent application in May 2020.

Apple’s latest patent involves the use of an anodized part that includes a metal base and an anodized layer created from the metal base. The company designed the anodized layer to take advantage of light-absorbing features located at different locations to absorb light that falls on the surface of the device’s housing. Apple detailed plans to etch the surface of the anodized parts to create these light-absorbing features.

To impart color to the anodized layer, Apple describes using “pores” in the surface, into which color particles are infused.The patent document states that the anodized layer will have CIELAB L* values less than 10. This means that the appearance of the surface of the product will be close to black, but with a matte finish.

Matte Black Finish Patent Apple USPTO Apple Patent

Figures 6A, 6B, 7A and 7B depict the etched anodized part under electron microscopy
Photo credit: USPTO/Apple

Many manufacturers have tried to make devices with matte surfaces that approach black, but most efforts have failed—black anodized metal looks shiny and reflects a lot of light instead of absorbing it. In the patent filing, Apple details how the company managed to create a solid black device with a metallic finish.

Recent reports suggest that Apple may be working on products like a smart ring that could provide haptic feedback and pressure-sensitive input. Likewise, a recent patent application hints at the work of an AirPods sensor that would allow Apple’s wireless earbuds to measure brain electrical activity. Apple was also recently awarded a second patent that suggests that future MacBook and Mac computers may add Face ID support.


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