On the last business day of last year, the US Patent and Trademark Office released an application from Apple that concerns possible future computers, mobile and wearable devices. The application describes a design that allows the edge of the device to glow. In addition to uniform illumination, it allows you to display glowing icons, text, and more.
The patent application describes an “edge illuminator” outside the pixel array. As envisioned by the inventors, it could include semiconductor LEDs mounted on printed circuit boards, protrude as a ring around a pixel array, or fill a notch in a pixel array. In some configurations, the printed circuit may be rigid and may have staggered layers, etc. The edge illuminator can also be formed using liquid crystal or electrophoretic components. It is also possible to use devices in which the edge illuminator is connected to the LEDs by a light guide. The edge illuminator may include LEDs on an elastic mesh backing or other flexible backing to fit the curved portions of the device.
It is possible to have separate adjustable areas of the illuminator, the brightness and color of which change individually. They can be used to shape patterns, icons and texts. An edge light can also be used to notify you of incoming messages, timer triggers, and other events that may or may not be related to the image on the screen.