Future backlit Mac keyboards may have adjustable white points

Future Mac backlit keyboards may have adjustable white points, based on a new patent filing (number 20190051267) by Apple. White points are coordinates that serve to define the color "white" in image capture, encoding, or reproduction. Depending on the application, different definitions of white are needed to give acceptable results.

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In the patent filing, Apple notes that, during operation, the intensity and color of ambient lighting may change on a backlit keyboard (as well as the display) may change. If care isn’t taken, ambient light changes and changes in the operating settings of components in the computer may cause the appearance of keyboard keys, displays, and other input-output devices to vary in ways that aren’t visually appealing. Apple wants to change this.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “An electronic device may have a main display and an ancillary display that forms a dynamic function row. The device may also have a backlit keyboard with glyphs. The keyboard may have light-emitting diodes that emit backlight illumination. The backlight illumination has a backlight illumination color and intensity. A color ambient light sensor may measure ambient light color and intensity. Control circuitry in the laptop computer may make white point adjustments to the main and ancillary displays.

“White point adjustments may be made based on factors such as the backlight illumination intensity, information on the nominal white point of a display (which may be comparable to the color of the backlight illumination), information on the ambient light color and intensity, and a white point adaptation scaling factor.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.