Apple Patent Reveals Invisible & Light-Forming MacBook Controls

Posted on April 29, 2010 by

From Patently Apple:

A new patent application from Apple has surfaced this morning that reveals some rather interesting concepts involving the use of both invisible and light-forming device controls. The good news is that it’s not theory. The technology, in-part, is being utilized in Apple’s new Magic Mouse. The no-button Mouse is what this patent is all about – and yet Apple takes us to the next level of where this could be going. We could eventually see this technology apply to future iPods, the Apple TV remote and perhaps more importantly, next generation MacBooks – where it really gets interesting.

The Visible or Invisible Button Concept Overview

Apple’s patent FIG. 1 shown below presents us with a generic electronic device 10. Device 10 could be, for example, a laptop computer, a media device, a remote control, a game player, or any other device that requires a button or switch.

Device 10 features an invisible button or switch 20, whose location is shown in phantom (the square in dotted lines). Button 20 is used to control some function associated with electronic device 10. The device has a metal frame (30), which may be, for example, be aluminum. Button 20 is invisible because it is made from and integral with the same metal as the frame. The button is flush with and does not bulge out or otherwise protrude into or out of the frame. Therefore, it is not visible from the exterior of the device. The frame may have markings (e.g., paint, texture) to indicate the location of the button in some instances.

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