Apple reportedly is exploring ways to add a matte black finish to its MacBook lineup, Apple Watch, and its iOS devices. This new finish is described in a patent titled “Anodized Part Having a Matte Black Appearance” filed in May 2020. The patent says the finish can be applied to metals and metal alloys such as aluminum, titanium, and steel.
The patent describes a material and method that produces a deep, intense matte black. The black material in the patent is a darker black than can be achieved by using only dyes.
The finish contains an anodized layer with “randomly distributed light-absorbing features that are capable of absorbing visible light,” writes Apple in the patent. Within this layer, there are pores infused with “color particles” that presumably maximizes the amount of light the material can absorb.
Light absorption is directly related to the level of darkness a material can achieve. The more light a material absorbs, the blacker it will appear to the naked eye.
Existing true black solutions, like that from Vantablack, can absorb up to 99.965 percent of available light. This incredible light-absorbing material is one of the darkest substances known to man.
Matte black isn’t a new concept for Apple. Though the company does not offer a matte black MacBook, it did add a matte black option to the iPhone 7. That iPhone is only the tip of the iceberg. The technology outlined in the patent would far exceed what the company achieved with this previous device.
Though intriguing, this patent only hints at what Apple may do in the future. It is not a guarantee that we will see matte black hit all of the devices in Apple’s product lineup.
In the meantime, customers who want a black iPhone, iPad, or Mac can apply one of many different skins that promise to transform your space gray phone to a matte black beauty.