Apple Could Be Preparing a Matte Black Aluminum MacBook Soon

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 23, 2021

“Patently Apple” has spotted another interesting Apple patent that was filed in the US Patent and Trademark Office this year, and it concerns a method to anodize aluminum parts to give them a nice matte black appearance. According to the details included in the patent, Apple wants to make the outer surface of devices like the MacBook not just to appear dark but to actively absorb light by randomly diffusing it on the surface layer.

Source: Patently Apple

The mechanism through which something like that would work is by creating pores on that layer (etching the surface), with the bottoms and the pits having a distance of 2 micrometers or less. Apple describes an L* target value that is less than 10, which means that the “lightness” of the black will be pretty low. The key here is to reduce the glossiness in the anodized layer, which is what makes the “total black” appearance so hard to achieve.

Source: Patently Apple

As the patent describes:

The etched anodized surface of the enclosures having light-trapping features (also referred to as light-absorbing features) is capable of absorbing generally almost all visible light incident thereupon. Additionally, whatever visible light not absorbed by the light-trapping features is diffusely reflected by the light-trapping features. As a result, the etched anodized part is characterized as having a matte, low gloss finish. The matte, low gloss finish combined with black color particles infused within pores are capable of hiding surface geometries of the external surface.

We know that Apple is serious when it comes to design and product aesthetics, and their approach to a matte black version of the MacBook (and possibly more devices) is indicative of that. Apple wants to materialize the product at a level that has no match in any of the competing products. All the other products on the market right now, even premium laptops, are more dark gray than black.

A black MacBook would definitely look slick and also stealthy, but we wouldn’t leave it under the sun for long. Also, the matte finish would help a lot with the user's handgrip, if that's a concern.

In the end, though, color is a matter of subjective preference, and silver has surely been an iconic color for the MacBook all these years. We're sure that many will love the new option - if it ever comes out anyway.

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