Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,236,895) for an “invisible, light-transmissive display system.” It involves Mac laptops that would only display certain features when they’re needed.
About the patent
The idea is for a laptop with display systems hat become visible when illuminated from behind. In the patent, Apple says that, as consumer products constantly become smaller and smaller, and in some cases more and more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to present and display user info in an uncluttered, easy-to-grasp manner.
Apple adds that much of the aesthetic appeal of a device is compromised if there are too many display elements, or if too much display area is occupied by display elements that are not needed except at particular times. When not needed, these “passive” or unactivated display elements invariably remain visible to the user, even though in the “off” state.
Apple says that this is not only displeasing from an aesthetic standpoint, but it can be an annoying distraction. The tech giant’s idea is for a laptop with display elements that instead of being constantly illuminated, only light up when needed.
For example, it might have a battery indicator that disappears unless power starts running low or unless a user touches it to check the battery level. Ditto the buttons/icons for the FaceTime camera status, wireless link status, hard drive activity, etc. However, Apple does mention the most folks would prefer the company logo to remain illuminated!
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with the technical details: “An invisible, light-transmissive display system with a light resistant material is provided. Substantially invisible, tapered, light-transmissive holes are penetrated in a light transmissive pattern through at least a portion of the light resistant material using a laser beam having a focal width less than the smallest diameter of the tapered holes.”