Apple Invisible Button

Apple’s patents are usually pretty interesting, even if they haven’t shown up in their products yet. So with that, we have the “Disappearing Button or Slider”, a patent that was filed a couple years ago based on the last-gen MacBook Pro that’s included in the patent images.

Basically, the patent follows the company’s minimalist design principles by having backlit holes on the aluminum laptop body that would make inputs either visible or invisible depending on the user’s activity. They could be simple displays of battery strength or WiFi connection, or something even fancier, like iTunes controls. Just look at the photo and imagine the iPod scroll wheel-esque design as being all glowy — you’ll get the idea.

If they ever do release a design like this, it could be pretty cool. But by that time, maybe touchscreens will replace everything anyway.

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Chris Gullo