Apple has filed a patent application for an intense light-absorbing matte black finish for a range of products including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and MacBook. Apple gradually).
The patent was filed with the Patent, US Patent and Trademark Office, entitled “Anodized Part with a Matte Black Appearance,” and outlines the characteristics of the finish and possible manufacturing processes to achieve it. The patent notes that the finish can be used on a range of metals and metal alloys, including aluminum, titanium, and steel.
The finish includes an anodized layer that includes “randomly distributed light-absorbing features capable of absorbing visible light.” The layer consists of holes, “where the particles of color are within the holes.” The resulting surface is a deep, intense matte black.
It is extremely difficult to obtain a true black color, with most commercial “black” products actually being dark brown or blue. The patent states that “depositing dye particles only within the pores of the anodized layer is insufficient to apply a true black color.”
One of the issues involved is that, generally, the darker the color, the higher the brightness of the finish, which in turn reflects a larger amount of visible light. In etching the surface of an anodized layer with holes, Apple is able to absorb “generally all visible light” to give a truer black finish without increasing brightness.
Apple’s solution is similar to existing true-black solutions such as “Vantlac,” one of the darkest materials that absorb 99.965 percent of light.
While there are other options, such as skins, Apple has never offered a matte black MacBook. The company has experimented with several matte black finishes on other products, however, such as the 7Phone 7.
The patent application cannot be taken as evidence that Apple intends to bring it to market and many patent ideas never reach the shelves. Nevertheless, they provide an interesting insight into what Apple is researching and developing behind the scenes.