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Apple Applies For Color-Change Patent 466

Secret300 writes "Apple is applying for a patent to release "devices capable of dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance." If this is a success, it would considerably boost Apple's presence in the technology world." So, perhaps we can not only theme our desktop on the machine - but our *literal* desktop.
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Apple Applies For Color-Change Patent

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  • ... sounds an awful lot like an LCD screen to me, which'd be prior art.

    What's special about their patent? Are the surfaces non-planar or some such thing?
    • by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:34AM (#4981139) Homepage
      Sounds more like a patent to change how the mac looks, not just the display. Maybe my mac's case is blue in the morning, and yellow at night? If this is the case, there MUST be things that do similar things.

      Hell, wouldn't certain animals qualify as prior art?

      And what about novelity (is that a word?)? Screw the prior art searches, we need examiners that can say "This is not novel, so it's not patentable, even tho no one else has done it."

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:36AM (#4981491)
      There are all sorts of possible useful uses. For example, a signal strength/direction finder for wireless connection displayed on the back of the ibook could help you orient it. Imagine that spagetti of cables in the back of your rack; now imiagine if the computer could selectively light up the sheeth of its ethernet cable to show you where it went. Also the patent says it could be in input device too. perhaps, an ipod could display a keyboard on its back surface. Or maybe a iTablet computer lacking a real keyboard could form a rudimentary keyboard on its back side.

      I have often wanted just a small built in light for my keyboard on my notebook computer so I could see the keyboard with the roomlights off and not be blinded by the screens light.

      How about a trackpad button that could segment itself into a three button mouse depending on where you pressed it.

      how about just a load sensor, or something that showed you the state of the computer (like VM swap, talking to the firewire disk) or maybe if it told you if some other user was remotely logged in.

      What if the computer turned oranged striped if it detected (somehow) that it had been stolen, or an un authorized log in was attempted.

      finally, is there anyone who does not think the visualls that go on with iTunes are not stunning? maybe they can do something equally impressive here.

      my last comment is this. it is only a short trip down the road before skinable color changing polymers allow video screens to be painted on all most anything in any shape, even flexible ones. That's when this idea will really take off. So this is just a precursor.
      • Yup, and I actually think this idea might be patent-worthy: it's obvious once you hear about it, and frickin' useful to boot. Even if it's just one color at a time (as opposed to a iLavaLamp), that's still a whole lot of uses. Someone on Ars suggested having it flash when people are in Rendezvous range, but I like your suggestion for signal strength, or how the CPU is doing (works its way from blue to red or white)
      • > There are all sorts of possible useful uses.

        All your suggestions are interesting. However, let's not forget that this is the company that came up with the Flower Power iMac [].

        So this means you *can't* rule out this patent allowing a future product to sin against nature.
  • Theming Potential? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 1stflight ( 48795 )
    Imagine the theming potential here, you could change EVERYTHING!!!
  • by johnthorensen ( 539527 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:34AM (#4981134)
    Just what I need when I come in to the office...

    finding that some joker has put my computer into "adaptive camoflage mode" and stashed it somewhere in plain sight. :-/

  • by imac.usr ( 58845 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:34AM (#4981138) Homepage
    They're talking about this over in the Mac forum on Ars Technica: Interesting Apple Patent []

  • Ok is it me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TerryAtWork ( 598364 )
    or did the previous story become the very first one I've ever seen here with no comments allowed?

    To comment on THAT story - computers themselves won't teach anything. It's small groups of enthusiasts like The R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. (Whose motto was the totally cool 'Each One Teach One') or the MIT Computer Club that actually teach things.

    And since most teachers are clueless re computers, only small groups can ever exist.

    To comment on THIS story, this is just another land-rush patent crap that's caused by an incorrect patent system that will one day be corrected.

    • Two thoughts -

      One - computers actually CAN teach something. When I was at Humber College I took a JCL course on computer. This was the 70's and the course was in a room of dumb terminals all wired to a box watched by this bored guy and the box talked to a bigger box at Seneca that actually ran the course.

      It was WONDERFUL and I asked the bored guy if he had any other courses. 'Just one on finance but you won't get any credit for it'

      Well I took it anyways and it was also wonderful except I never got a grip on the rounding rules. I was often off in my mortgage calculation by a penny and it always marked me wrong for it.

      I've never pursued education like that before or since.

      As for the other remark, I don't mean to imply you won't get a computer education at MIT except in the private clubs.

      What I mean is a lot of the bedrock people of the Internet were the original hackers (in the explorer sense) and learned good stuff in extra curricular activities.

    • I saw the same thing, but I can post comments now that someone else has. Looks like there may be a bug in the Slash code. Have you customized your slashdot apperance? In my preferences, I've checked both "Light" and "No icons".
  • ...for many months now that after the release of OS 10, Apple now has the most appealing computers by far of any technology company.

    This seems like yet another cosmetic improvement for the now technologically superior Powerbooks, G4s, and iMacs. I for one think this sounds great. And hey, it comes just at a time in which I thought their products could not get any better!

    Combining a solid BSD core at the operating system level with a wonderfully intuitive and creative GUI and adding in beautiful hardware that's as easy to add as plugging in a switch is as good as it gets IMHO.

    Way to go Apple!
    • Seriously, who modded this as a troll? It's an opinion, and one that's pretty valid - you may not like Apple, but, if you can't see why people do, then you're being pretty limited.

      Evangelism is a point of view, your disagreement with it does not make it a troll.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:38AM (#4981159)
    A television screen, for example, or any other CRT can alter both it's functional and decorative apperance with just a change in display signal.

    Imagine a display on a CRT surrounded by a decorative border... like we see in most applications.

    Now if Apple had filed a patent specifically for a computer case that could change it's appearance at whim and provided a mechanism for it to do so, they'd be set, but no, the want to corner the market before there is a market. Boo, Apple!
    • And what about sound sensitive cold cathodes [] that you can install into your machine? Aren't these prior art?
    • The patent isn't talking about display surfaces changing, it's talking about the actual housing for an electronic device changing, i.e. the plastic shell of your TV changing colour. That would be hard to shower prior art for, since I've yet to see a TV or monitor that could dynamically change the physical appearance of its external housing.

      Apple, I don't know what on earth you've come up with, but I'm at once scared and excited. I can't wait for whatever MWSF you show this off at.

    • Hey,

      A television screen, for example, or any other CRT can alter both it's functional and decorative apperance with just a change in display signal.

      I'm no expert, but aren't you confusing the patent Title with the patent detail?

      For example, the first company to develop a way for producing steel razor blades applies for a patent entitled 'Method for producing steel razors', but that only protected the method described in the detail, not every possible technique.

      In fact, one of thier competitors developed a different method for making steel razor blades, and they were allowed to patent that.

      Just because this patent's title is quite broad, doesn't let them patent the entire market.


  • And when the open source community (or anyone else) figures out how to do this, they'll be sued by Apple?
    Does nature count as prior art? (chameleon)
    Is there a patent on covalent molecular bonds? Man, I could really clean up.
    • "Does nature count as prior art? (chameleon)"

      I wouldn't count the chameleon's changing of colours to be dynamic changing its ornamental or decorative appearance. Those colour changes help it live its live more easily.

  • They've always worked at setting themselves apart, creating computers that were interesting in appearance as well as easy to use. They work, and look good doing it. I miss my apple. I enjoy linux on x86, but I know my next purchase will be an Apple, and not just because of the insides. Apple works (and usually succeeds)at delivering the complete package.
  • Boost what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:39AM (#4981168) Homepage Journal

    If this is a success, it would considerably boost Apple's presence in the technology world.

    I'm not sure how pretty colors will bost them in the technology world, let alone the ability to change amongst various pretty colors. Remember those sneakers with the clear logo and replacable colored inserts? That didn't boost the shoes in the technology world, why would a similar tech boost Apple? Have their shiny colored computers boosted them "considerably" so far, or was it their generally good hardware architecture and cleanly-integrated OS? Sigh.

    • Have their shiny colored computers boosted them "considerably" so far, or was it their generally good hardware architecture and cleanly-integrated OS? Sigh.

      Their shiny-colored computers have boosted them more than anything else. Remember the first iMacs? That's when the great unwashed began to take notice of Apple again.

  • by AssFace ( 118098 ) <> on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:40AM (#4981174) Homepage Journal
    This would allow me to fufill my quest to fully rice out my desktop computer. I have swollen fenders on it, a pumping neon glow that throbs to the beat of ABBA, and of course the ubiquitous spoiler that keeps my computer from flipping over when I'm crusing.

    If my computer could change colors as you walk around it like some of those wonderful paint jobs that I've seen on many a Honda Civic... well, then I would probably shit my pants with joy.
    Come to think of it, and judging my that smell, I guess it doesn't have to be with joy.

    I hope that having color changing exteriors won't cause them to give up hope of the slowest JVM, fire causing power supplys, and expensive underclocked RAM.
  • "devices capable of dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance."

    I thought that a patent had to be on a particular method or device, not on a general class of devices that has a capability to do something.

    If Inventor A patents Mousetrap A that works using a mechanical spring baited with cheese, and Inventor B invents Mousetrap B that works using poison, if Inventor A holds a patent on Mousetrap A, it shouldn't affect B's ability to build or patent Mousetrap B. It's not the capability of the device (the capability to trap mice in this case), it's the *method* or the *design* used to achieve that capability.

    Or has the patent system gotten completely screwed up?
  • by Ogrez ( 546269 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:43AM (#4981185)
    Blue... no! GREEN!!... aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
  • WOW! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:44AM (#4981191)
    Apple invented the light bulb!!

    Seriously 'tho..after reading the patent I don't think this is anything that special. It seems like Apple is going to start putting RGB LED lights inside a specially designed case so you can change the color of it to match your surroundings.

    Is it just me or is this the hardware version of feature creep? Is Apple going to fit all its devices full of cute doodads just to raise the price more? My opinion is that Apple should be investigating an open architechture for its hardware..but that's just me.
    • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:47PM (#4981913) Journal
      When I close the lid on my iBook and it goes to sleep there is a pulsing white light on the front of the machine where an LED is shining through the case. When that LED is off you wouldn't even know it's there.

      It'd be nice if there were similar indicators for new mail, or alarms from iCal, connection state, short messages, etc.

      THAT is how I think this technology will be used. As indicators of state independent of the display, that effectively use sparse cover space, that can change in multiple ways, and so forth. And uniquely, they don't mar up the computer's appearance when they're not needed. Possibly this will even be like having a second display capable of showing generalized information, at least in part. Changing the overall appearance of the computer is just a bonus.
  • Visuals (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daleks ( 226923 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:46AM (#4981196)
    iTunes visuals on your computer skin or even your iPod case would be awesome. It would make every case-modder out there green with envy.
  • This sound interesting: changing the colour of the computer's case (and maybe peripherals too), perhaps under software control - I'm sure that case modders would love to be able to do this. But, seriously, think about it: why would you worry about changing the case's hues When You Still Can't Change The F***ing GUI's Colours? Being able to only change the desktop background and window buttons just doesn't cut it. If they still can't get this one feature through, why should they even bother with the outside?

    (Yes, I'm aware of theme-changing utilities, but they're not a standard feature).

  • Prior art abounds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:52AM (#4981233) Journal
    From the patent: " The electronic devices generally include an illuminable housing. The illuminable housing, which includes at least one wall configured for the passage of light, is configured to enclose, cover and protect a light arrangement as well as functional components of the electronic device. The light arrangement, which generally includes one or more light sources, is configured to produce light for transmission through the light passing wall(s) of the illuminable housing."

    Is Apple trying to patent case mods?? Plenty of prior art... those neon-lights-behind-a-window case mods, anyone? And yes, the patent speaks of changing the color or pattern of the light. Been there, done that: there's a case mod that emits a light ranging from blue to red, depending to the CPU temperature.
  • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @10:54AM (#4981238)
    if ( $org within ("Microsoft"|"Amazon"|"Intel")
    && $topic == "patent" )
    post.story("Patents are evil, Linux r0x0rZ!");
    elsif ($org within ("Apple"|"Transmeta"|"VA")
    && $topic == "patent" )
    post.story("Feature xxx is cool! $org r0x0rZ!");
    else {

    • That's exactly what I was gonna say... just not in so much code...

      But, that's nice that they're doing such a wide reaching patent. I think that we can safely say, "Bye bye case mods", since any cases sold already modded would violate the patent. So if anybody does LAN parties, you're gonna have to get an Apple if you want a cool case. Swell.
      • I traded readability for efficency with that code :D

        The most pathetic thing is, if Dell did something like this, there would be a front-page rant with 1500 replies to it in 10 minutes.

        But Apple is held sacrosanct, because they compete (poorly) with Wintel.
    • by pohl ( 872 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @01:01PM (#4982014) Homepage
      What an idiot you are. That's like
      • going into a restaurant,
      • hearing one person exclaiming how eating veal is immoral,
      • witnessing somone else ordering veal, and
      • accusing the entire clientele of hypocrisy.
  • devices capable of dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance.

    Sounds like Apple is patenting women. Women are closed source enough as it is, now they're patented?

  • Apple is applying for a patent to release "devices capable of dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance.

    As mentioned before, this sounds like an LCD, but there are other things that this would infringe upon ...

    Paint for automobiles that you can hook up to an E.Q. that will change colors based on the electric current that passes through the paint already exists ...

    ... so I guess Apple is getting into pimping out cars as well ....

  • "robots in the sky"

    Prior art?
  • This has already been done... You manually rearrange oversize translucent colored pixels to create designs which appear when you turn on the lightbulb inside. It's called LiteBrite. (and u can play with a virtual LiteBrite here []!.
  • Will work like the children's toys such as easy-bake oven:

    Dip it into icy water, and it will turn hot pink. Wipe it down with a warm wet cloth and it's blue. Bake it in the microwave, and it will light up in all colors of the rainbow.

    Ain't technology grand?

  • Mood Mac (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "I was like... Bummed... And my Mac turned, like, black and stuff..."

    What would Ellen do?
  • Anyone remember "mood rings"? They changed color based on something, probably body heat, and each color supposedly meant what mood you were in.. Yeah, they were really cool in the 5th grade, but anyway, The inventor of those, might be able to claim prior art.. I would like to see some of the technical details.

  • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:05AM (#4981311) Homepage
    Or those t-shirts that change color, or those coffee mugs....

    Serisouly, even if they are changing color dynamically, isn't that basically just wrapping an object in "electronic ink" paper?

    Jon Acheson
  • prior art (Score:3, Funny)

    by slothdog ( 3329 ) < minus language> on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:06AM (#4981318) Homepage
    two words: mood rings.
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zapdos ( 70654 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:08AM (#4981329)
    See it here []

  • Move over, GEICO gecko, here comes the Apple Chameleon.

    I thought I'd read a press release lately about how some teen/geek toy was doing the color change case thing already. Will submit when I find it.

  • 1) The sky (esp. sunsets) ...

    2) Disco floors ...

    3) Those cool fish tanks with rotating lights

    4) Cop sirens (no more tickets for me)

    .... gimme a break here!!!
    • why should this be an unpatenable idea? I don't have a problem with the concepts of patents, i just think the current implementation of the patent system has a) too long a duration for computer technolog, b) allows software/algorythm/business patents, c) too easy to patent obvious or already implemented ideas.

      I don't see this as being any of those (except the too long a duration) assuming it's very different from mood ring technology. The applications range far outside the computer domain -- i'd love to have a car i could change color at will.
  • "If this is a success, it would considerably boost Apple's presence in the technology world"

    Why would this considerably boost Apple's Presence? So your computer changes color, OMG the technology I've been waiting for to "Switch"

    I can see the commercial now. 'I've been waiting forever for a computer that can change colors and look cool on my desktop, It's finally arrived, Now I have a reason to leave Microsoft forever.'
  • most of you have forgotten that Apple is not just about Form, they are highly concentrated on FUNCTION. So many "oh, blinking lights, real nice" comments ... i don't think you necessarily grasp that while the underlying idea may seem simplistic, it is always Apple's implementation of said ideas that makes them stand out and in effect be more than what they are.

    perhaps it is just LEDs. and if this were the case, trust me, Apple's found some ingenius way to use them that no one has done before to communicate information via color - something that is more 'human' than a dialog box, let's say. and if it IS just LEDs, then it won't really incur much more cost, now would it?

    Lets not forget the derision that was apparent when Apple released the new style towers in 99 w/ the B&W G3. Sure, the colors mighta been weird, but for all the nastiness written about its "girly" appearnace, how it didn't have enough drive bays, yadda yadda, they ignore the fact that you can upgrade this thing by just pulling a latch and swinging the entire side panel down, reveaeling the motherboard and all other internal components, all within reach and plain view and without obstruction, in a fraction of a second.

    so please, enough of this 'shiny useless trinkets' crap. what's wrong with adding a little style to round out seriously amazing capabilities?
  • by MrCam ( 97813 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:24AM (#4981425)
    Microsoft has niffty blue screen to tell you something is wrong with the computer. Now Apple is out-doing them by making the computer change color when things go wrong.

    User: Hello.
    Apple: This is Apple support, how may I help you?
    User: My computer is flashing, and it is all black.
    Apple: What is the pattern?
    User: Three short flashes followed by three long flashes.
    Apple: If I were you I would drop the phone and run away!
  • I'll start with a disclaimer: I can't get to the site right now, so I can't read the details. If this really IS just patenting hardware aesthetics that change colour, then this is (a) frivolous, and (b) affected by prior art. In other words, it's an Amazon patent.

    I've liked Apple all along, even if I haven't always (ever?) liked their computers that much. They have been innovators, designers, and inventors. Now they're turning into litigators. Sigh.
  • by Chris Canfield ( 548473 ) <<ten.dleifnacsirhc> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:32AM (#4981473) Homepage
    If the patent calls for a change in the "ornamental or decroative appearance of a device," but then goes back to claim this could provide feedback to the user about the internal state of the device, doesn't that preclude the display from being decorative? Isn't it then, simply, an additional display device inside of a case?

    I know, there are millions of examples [] of prior art [] that all are [] microprocessor controlled utilizing storage (write once only, but it is storage) and decorative lights projected through a surface. But at what point do we draw the line between decorative and functional?


    • Theese examples doesnt cover cases, not any of them. The patent is covering cases and not the function of changing colours in itself. Prior art would be a computer that did what this describes. Find one and get back to us.
  • Mathmos? (Score:5, Informative)

    by obi ( 118631 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @11:35AM (#4981490)
    Sounds like Mathmos ( would have a bone to pick with this patent.

    They've got a whole series of "devices dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance", pretty much in the same way Apple describes in this patent. Just check out the "tumbler" or "faze"...

  • sCsid=4ffe3865fde656aa3ea9c8cba84ba502 I actually tried to submit this, once. I located it on a websurf initiated by a slashdot link to animenewsnetwork, back in October. I rediscovered the link in animenewsnetwork's archive, they link to the anime-artist desgined mice sold at but something else had caught my eye. The Elecom Grast24 "Optical 24-color USB mouse". Translucent mouse uses internal LED's to change color of the mouse. Software controlled -- user selectable color. "Illumination mode cycles through all 24 colors when mouse is idle." This is the same thing Apple is talking about, no?
  • ...they do not yet HAVE the patent.

    This means there is a public comment period approaching. You case mod gurus may want to make your views known on prior art for illuminating computer cases.
  • Maybe, just maybe this has to do with the backlighted Apple logo on the back of the iBook screen. (the cover, lid, whatever)

    By applying for a patent on this idea, Apple secures that no other laptop producer removes the light isolation on the back of an LCD screen to allow light to shine through a logoshaped part of the lid of the computer. The only part of the computer you can see in a dark conference room, I might add. ...or?
  • by kakos ( 610660 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:10PM (#4981713)
    Patents are evil. How can Apple do this? How can the patent system let them do this? ...

    OH, wait. We're talking about Apple, not Microsoft.

    This is great. This will be great for Apple. Hooray for Apple!
  • Okey, case modding has done almost similar things like putting a neon light into a case but i doubth that they have made the colours interchangable. I have never ever anywhere on the net seen a case that was made of semitransparent plastic and that changed colour, that idea is to me all new. I have seen some toys that does this but never ever a case for a computer.

    We have to hand it to them, it would make some awsome cases. Imagine a plugin to XMMS that flashed not only the screen but the whole damn computer with the music!

    Salesman: "What colour do you want your Imac in?"
    Customer: "Blue"
    salesman clicks on a button.
    Salesman: "There you go"
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:22PM (#4981768)
    I can find prior art for this as near as my neighbor's back yard. He's got one of those Madonna in a bathtub thingies. The Madonna and bathtub are both white. He has different colored spotlights he can shine on it to change its color depending on his mood.

    He's been doing this for 40 years * that I know of.* I don't know how long before I moved in next door he'd been doing it.

    You'll find the same technique used in any theatrical performance, rock show, movie or other such staged performance.

    This technique is so old it isn't even medieval. It predates that period by a considerable margin.

    And since when is chrome "tech?"

    "Yeah, I advance the technology of my house by putting up some new wallpaper and adding a few colored lights."

    Right Bob, bite me.

  • by lfourrier ( 209630 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:25PM (#4981795)
    The invention pertains to electronic devices capable of dynamically changing their ornamental or decorative appearance, i.e., the outer appearance as seen by a user. The electronic devices generally include an illuminable housing. The illuminable housing, which includes at least one wall configured for the passage of light, is configured to enclose, cover and protect a light arrangement as well as functional components of the electronic device. The light arrangement, which generally includes one or more light sources, is configured to produce light for transmission through the light passing wall(s) of the illuminable housing. The transmitted light illuminates the wall(s) thus giving the wall a new appearance. That is, the transmitted light effectively alters the ornamental or decorative appearance of the electronic device. In most cases, the light is controlled so as to produce a light effect having specific characteristics or attributes. As such, the electronic device may be configured to provide additional feedback to the user of the electronic device and to give users the ability to personalize or change the look of their electronic device on an on-going basis. That is, a housing of the electronic device is active rather than passive, i.e., the housing has the ability to adapt and change. For example, the light may be used to exhibit a housing behavior that reflects the desires or moods of the user, that reflects inputs or outputs for the electronic device, or that reacts to tasks or events associated with operation of the electronic device

    any hard drive in a transparent housing, with a led indicating seek or read, is covered by this patent
    • "any hard drive in a transparent housing, with a led indicating seek or read, is covered by this patent"

      It's not so much what is covered by the patent, as what Apple intends to enforce with it. Until I see what Apple has built that they are describing and whether or not they go after anything that can change color I don't see this as malicious a patent as say Amazon's 1-Click.
      If, however, they have just built a case made out of a very large mood ring and start sueing mood ring manufacturers, then I'll have a problem with it.

  • As someone may have already pointed out, My TiBook already has TWO (2) implementations of this. 1) There's a white light on the cover that pulses (beathes kindof) when the computer is sleeping. 2) The powercharger glows green when charged and orange when charging. Both of these fit the description of "dynamic ornamental appearance" as apple describes them I believe. This patent is from february and could just be covering existing products. But I still think a glowing imac would be cool and could be likely.
  • those plastic snowmen with the fiber optics lighting would meet the requirements for this patent. sorry apple. additionally, its not even a new idea. sci-fi electronic camoflage suits do this as well. including, how about this, hotwheels color-changing toys.
  • by tommck ( 69750 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:36PM (#4981862) Homepage
    Does this mean Michael Jackson's going to have to cut a check to Apple?


  • I've gauged a bit of cynicism regarding Apple's success with the I-Mac - some folks think it's in large part to the first generation unit's translucent blue color and funky integrated shape.
    Does Apple's attempt to patent a color-changing desktop simply lend this further credence?
  • Patents used to be about specific technology: a way of accomplishing a desirable goal. These days, anybody who has a "wouldn't it be nifty if we could do X" patents it, no matter whether they have a clue of how to do "X" or not.

    In fact, arguably a large chunk of furniture and clothes design is about "dynamically adapting" to the tastes and moods of the user. It's just that the most cost effective means so far have been manually operated.

  • i have seen product designs which change color for the purpoe of displaying information or mood. sure, on a computer--cool. but, still not patentable imho.
  • not too innovative (Score:2, Insightful)

    by steeef ( 98372 )
    at first i (like many slashdotters, from the looks of some of the comments) thought apple had come up with some new technology for changing the color of the computer itself.

    however, after seeing this picture [] posted on ars technica [], it looks like what they're really doing is patenting a method of lighting. the picture suggests a light inside the monitor and the computer that illuminates the device. sounds like mod kiddes putting cold cathode lights and windows in their cases, doesn't it?
  • devices capable of changing their color

    So what ever happened to the law that you can't patent a concept like this, only an expression of concept? Apple certainly might be able to build something that changes color and patent the technology that does that, but they can't patent the concept of things that change color. Not only isn't it an expression of a concept, but there is way too much prior art (anyone remember mood rings?).

  • by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Monday December 30, 2002 @02:39PM (#4982717) Homepage Journal
    In recent news, Santa Claus has brought a string of chaser Christmas lights in to disprove Apple's patent on color-changing hardware devices. When properly installed on a Christmas tree, these lights cause the tree to change colors, and have done so since 1980.

    "That Steve Jobs is going to be on my Naughty list this year", says a miffed Santa. "It's one thing to compete in the same toy market as I do, but it's another to try and muscle ME out!"

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.