It’s that time of week again. Apple was awarded a new patent, related specifically to how devices like the iPhone handle a screen’s brightness — particularly in dark environments.
The patent is aimed at addressing the so-called “luminescence shock” that can occur when you turn your phone’s display on in the dark. Currently, when you turn the display on the phone can take a few seconds to adjust to an appropriate brightness. Using this patent, however, the device would “selectively limit its brightness level of a display device when the display device is activated in a dark environment.”
As you might expect, the tech would basically use the phone’s ambient light sensor when an event is triggered — like you receive a phone call or message. If that happens, instead of simply turning the display and adjusting the brightness after, the device would use the ambient light sensor to determine just how dark it is, then turn the display on at an appropriate brightness. There are embodiments of the tech without an ambient light sensor too. Instead of turning on the display at full brightness, the display could simply turn on at reduced brightness when a call or message has been received — which would still help avoid luminescence shock.
It’s important to note that this patent is a continuation of one that was filed back in 2016 — which is a continuation of a continuation of a continuation, etc. The original patent was filed in 2007 — so it’s clearly something that Apple has been working on for a while.
Of course, just because Apple has a patent for it, that doesn’t mean that the tech will ever show up in any Apple products. On top of that, if it does, that doesn’t mean that we will even know if it does. It may not show up as a setting — it could simply be a new feature in an iPhone that is not explicitly described.
The feature could also help saving power. If a phone is constantly turning on the display at full blast anytime a notification is received, it can have a pretty big effect on the battery. Turning it on at a lower brightness could help save on that battery.
It would be easy to see this patent being used in an iPhone, but also in the iPad, Apple Watch, and other devices — really anything with a screen could benefit from technology like this.