New patent reveals Apple Logo could double as notification light on future iPhones

Apple has applied for a patent that would allow the company to use the Apple Logo on the back of future iPhones as a notification light. The patent describes an “adjustable decoration” that could react to signals like “incoming communication” or “a calendar reminder”. It will do this by changing its appearance or flashing a light to attract your attention.

The patent tells a story about a transparent layer on the back of a smartphone with adjustable decoration overlapping by the transparent layer changing the appearance of the light that comes out of the logo. There is also a control circuitry that can adjust the appearance in response to an event like a call or missed notification.

An electronic device, comprising: a housing having a transparent layer; adjustable decoration that is overlapped by the transparent layer and has an appearance when viewed through the transparent layer; and control circuitry configured to adjust the appearance in response to an event – patent

The patent specifically mentions a “cellular telephone”, which means that this would be iPhone specific, even though MacBooks have had Apple logos that were lit up for quite some time. However, the patent also includes images showing a series of “illustrative electronic devices” including a laptop, a tablet, and what appears to be an iMac.

Of course, it is not an entirely new idea. We saw a similar feature make an appearance on the Razer Phone 2 last year, and the Motorola One Zoom uses its rear Motorola logo as a notification light rather than a fingerprint sensor as in previous models. It is not a huge feature, but it is helpful if you want to know you are not missing anything important while your phone is facedown on a desk or table.

The patent itself notes that the “decoration” would consist of a transparent layer, along with an adjustable optical component that can change how light would appear through that layer. For example, it could alternate between mirrored and plain states to highlight to the user there is an incoming call. Moreover, those effects could presumably be tweaked through the Settings app on the iPhone.

It is interesting to see this feature being revived after it was removed from MacBooks. As some of you remember, the Apple logo was once illuminated on MacBooks. Of course, keep in mind that this is just a patent and there is no guarantee that it would make it to the iPhones.