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Future iPhones could use the Apple logo as a notification light

iPhone 11
(Image credit: Future)
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Future iPhones could make use of subtle color-changing decorations on the back of their casings, according to a recently filed Apple patent – maybe even turning the Apple logo on the phones into a notification light.

The patent, as spotted by AppleInsider (opens in new tab), is for "Electronic Devices with Adjustable Decoration". That essentially means extra layers on top of the phone case that can be controlled by the operating system.

Included in the patent details (opens in new tab) are mentions of incoming communications or calendar alerts, which might change the appearance of different parts of the case. These decorations could also be used to give feedback from the camera.

The filing says that the final application of the technology "may include a logo", which suggests some kind of dynamic Apple logo on the next batch of iPhones. That's actually a rumor that's been floating around for years now.

The light fantastic

While we've focused on iPhones so far, the patent could just as easily apply to MacBooks and other Apple hardware as well. MacBooks of years gone by did have illuminated logos on the lid, but this was effectively killed off by the 2016 MacBook Pro refresh.

Before you get too excited about a color-changing iPhone case, remember that this is just a patent application: tech companies file these applications all the time, and they don't necessarily always end up featuring in actual products.

Still, it's one way that Apple might try to change up the look of the 2020 iPhones and the ones that follow - imagine a flashing Apple logo telling you about an incoming call while your phone is flat on a desk and muted.

The iPhone design hasn't changed an awful lot in the last two years, which suggests a more significant shift could be happening next year – among the rumors we've heard so far is talk of a display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.