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Monday, December 4, 2023

Apple Explores the Return of Matte Black iPhones


Apple, known for its sleek and elegant iPhone designs, may be gearing up to reintroduce matte black iPhones, but don’t expect them with the upcoming iPhone 15 series. The tech giant has been granted a patent titled “Matte Black Appearance Anodized Part,” hinting at a return to matte black finishes on its devices.

While Apple has generally stuck to subtle and classic color options for its iPhones, it has occasionally ventured into bolder shades like green and yellow. iPhones like the iPhone 5C and iPhone XR were known for their vibrant hues, including red, blue, green, and coral. Apple briefly experimented with matte iPhones with its iPhone 7 series before returning to glossy finishes.

The recent patent, first filed in May 2020 and granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), details a method for creating a matte black finish on anodized surfaces. The inventors behind this technology are James Curran, Aaron Paterson, and Sonja Postak. The patent describes the process of creating an anodized layer on a metal substrate, etched to develop light-absorbing properties.

According to the patent, “The anodized layer includes (i) an external surface that includes randomly distributed light-absorbing features that are capable of absorbing visible light incident upon the external surface, and (ii) pores defined by pore walls, where color particles are infused within the pores. The anodized layer is characterized as having a color having an L* value using a CIE Lab* color space that is less than 10.”

This technology hints at a matte black finish, potentially offering a new color option for Apple devices. The patent diagrams show plans for matte black versions of smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and laptops. While Apple has offered various dark-colored products in the past, this patent suggests a desire to achieve true black, rather than dark grey or blue.

It’s important to note that not all patents translate into actual product development, but this glimpse into Apple’s innovation is intriguing. Recent patents have hinted at the possibility of a MacBook with a DJ turntable and a foldable iMac, showcasing the company’s ongoing creativity and willingness to explore new design possibilities. While it may not happen with the upcoming iPhone 15 series, the return of matte black iPhones could be on the horizon for Apple enthusiasts.


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