Apple patent watch: sun-lit displays

Apple has submitted a rather mysterious patent application, which appears to be a set of methods for lighting a display with external light sources — among which the sun seems to have the most… prominence. We all know how little patent illustrations actually resemble the devices which proceed from them, so I wouldn’t take these weird-looking line drawings as accurate representations of future apple products. Instead, try to wrap your mind around what they’re supposed to do.

It seems that Apple is looking at ways of leveraging existing light sources to make its displays visible. Not by internal reflectance, which is how e-ink is visible in sunlight, but by piping and reflecting the light to the edges or back of the display.

The applications of the technology are enumerated in the patent:

…these electronic devices may not be used effectively in certain physical settings, such as, for example, where the external or ambient light is brighter than the illumination of the display screen. As a result, a user may not be able to view the information on the display screen sufficiently. For example, a user may have difficulty viewing the information presented on a display screen of a laptop computer while outdoors on a sunny day.

Therefore, it would be beneficial to provide apparatus and methods for collecting external light to help illuminate a display screen of an electronic device.

As for the actual device, they give a few options. One would have a reflector that shines light toward the back of the screen, another would have a “light harness” which I suspect would be a way of gathering light in one area and releasing it in another, and the third method I can’t seem to figure out.

Would it work? Who knows? Chances are someone thought of something cool and their manager at Apple said “patent that sucker.” At least Apple admits that their stupid glossy screens suck in the daylight.

[via The Register – “Apple display patent enslaves sun,” lol]