Apple wants to ensure consistent color matching across all its devices

Apple wants to make sure that color matching is consistent across all its macOS, iOS, watchOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices. The company has filed for a patent (number 20190213974) for “color matching for output devices.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that consistently reproducing color on a variety of different electronic devices, such as printers, monitors, televisions, scanners, and/or mobile devices, can impact a user's experience with digital content that contain color text, photographs, and/or videos. For instance, accurately reproducing color on a display device's screen allows a user to perform corrective actions and modifications that can be seen when the digital content is printed out. 

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However, different output devices often have color spaces with varying gamut ranges because of the different capabilities of the devices. As an example, a monitor can be configured with a specific red, green, and blue (RGB) color space that differs from a printer's cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) color space. In order to consistently reproduce colors across different devices, Apple wants itsa devices to utilize a color management system that performs color matching operations, such as mapping colors between the output devices with different gamut ranges and transforming colors from one device-dependent color space to another. 

Here’s a summary of the invention: “Systems, methods, and computer readable media to perform color matching between a source color profile and a user-selected color profile are described. Various embodiments receive user input to select a color profile to output source content to an output device, where the source content is associated with a source color profile. 

“Various embodiments set the selected color profile as a target color profile and subsequently perform a first device-dependent color space conversion that converts the source color profile to the target color profile and uses the conversion to generate a target content from the source content. A second device-dependent color space conversion can then be performed to convert the target color profile to a device color profile and uses the conversion to generate output device content from the target content.”

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.