Gadgets

Apple patents ‘invisible’ logos and touch interfaces that light up, targeted ‘ionic wind’ cooling

Apple scored two patents today that are a clear reminder of its obsessive attention to detail and design.

Both patents were initially reported by AppleInsider. They show that Apple isn’t slowing down when it comes to innovation, even on seemingly mundane things like the way its logos and indicators appear on its computers.

The first, U.S. Patent No. 8,303,151 for “microperforation illumination,” describes an expanded way for Apple to light up touch interfaces, or simply its logo on the cover of future MacBooks, without any visible holes for the light to pass through. Basically, imagine a future MacBook where the Apple logo completely disappears into its metal case.

Apple already relies on lasers to create tiny microperforated holes to shine light through metal, which is used for things like the the glowing sleep light and the green webcam status indicator on MacBooks. But the patented process goes a step further, allowing Apple to create similar “invisible” elements for multitouch surfaces. The process is also significantly more complicated for something like creating an invisible Apple logo.

The second, U.S. Patent No. 8,305,728 for “ionic wind generation,” describes a way Apple can cool its future computers without mechanical fans, which are noisy and prone to failure. Instead of just using fans to blow cool air indiscriminately through electronic devices, the patented method uses an ionic generator that can push ionized air more efficiently to hot components such as a computer’s CPU or graphics processor.

Intriguingly, the patent notes that the ionic cooling method could also be used in future mobile devices.


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