Apple won a ton of patents over the past years, but now we’ve found one related to a smart fabric that could offer us adjustable light on an iPad Pro keyboard. The patent was granted last month by the US Patent Office and it was published this week by the European Patent Office.
The smart fabric is able to adjust its appearance using light emitting diodes. Apple hints at a fabric that could be used in a future keyboard, like the Smart Keyboard Folio. It could also be applied on a future Apple Watch band or a device cover or case. The adjustable strand could include a light emitting core, that could involve an optical fiber provided by light from a light emitting diode.
The light emitting diodes are mounted to a dielectric core, or a layer of light emitting diodes, sandwiched between coaxial inner and outer conductive layers. The strands of material in the fabric could include electrically adjustable light sources and electrically adjustable light modulators. Light modulator structures could adjust the color of emitted light.
The arrangements may also alter the appearance of fabric-based items, like keyboard key symbols, lit up logos and patterns. If I were Apple I’d be afraid to experiment with keyboards now, after the bad feedback received for the last MacBook keyboards, but using fabrics for smart lighting of gadgets seems harmless. I can imagine an Apple Watch band or maybe a keyboard cover that lights up.