Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) has reportedly filed an application to copyright a new technology that could make some of its features literally disappear when they are not in use.
The technology could herald a new era in gadget design and could find its use in hiding an iPhone’s camera, flash and in fact, its entire display unless they are required by the user.
It would be switchable curtains made possible by PDLC, polymer dispersed liquid crystal windows to hide the functions, imparting feature packed tablets and phones a neat and uncluttered appearance.
As per the US Patent Application 20120258773, electronic gadgets are becoming more and more classy and capable of performing a huge number of tasks from image capture to discover verification biometric sensors.
Delivering increased functionality often requires addition of components to such electronic devices. Adding more parts, however, can result in a cluttered electronic device.
The application argues that even as the requirement for new sensors and utilities increase, devices are retreating and the space required to add such features is getting smaller.
A few manufacturers, especially Samsung, have replied by making ever-bigger smartphones. However, the mass market appeal of such gadgets lessens as they are no longer able to fit easily in the pockets of customers.
Apple’s reply is that rather than messing with the aesthetic appeal of their devices, fresh features, like fingerprint scanners could be hidden behind a switchable PDLC window.
The patent application says that the electronic device may expose the hidden components by causing the electronic window to alter opacity, allowing the components to suddenly show up.
This technique could even be used to conceal a facial recognition camera right behind a device’s display, making it noticeable and active only when a picture of the user’s face is required for an online identity test.
Another instance presented in the patent application considers that a phone’s camera and flash could be concealed with the help of such a switchable window.