Successor to the black MacBook from 2006
Between 2006 and 2008, Apple released a black MacBook. It was at the height of Jony Ive’s ‘white period’. iMacs, MacBooks, iPods, earplugs: everything was made of white plastic. The black MacBook was also made of plastic and was the first to have a MagSafe connection. You felt rebellious when you bought one, because Apple had become very boring with all those white products. Apple hasn’t released black MacBooks since then, but that could change. Patents show that Apple is researching techniques to make an aluminum MacBook that is as black as possible.
Later tried Apple it again with a matte black and a shiny black iPhone 7, but it disappeared from the shelves after a year to make way for the standard colors space gray, silver and gold. The MacBooks are also available in those colors.
In the meantime, other manufacturers have also switched to aluminum housings, following Apple’s lead. Sometimes they are dark gray or they attempt to emit black, but they are never as deep black as the iPhone 7. Apple is simply perfectionist when it comes to aluminum and makes laptops that often look better than the competition in terms of design.
Apple would have had plans for a black aluminum MacBook in 2011, but Steve Jobs stopped it because the powder coating technique was not good enough.
Now the moment seems to have come. The black iPhone 12 has a side that is deep matte black and a new one published patent makes it clear that Apple still has plans to perfect the deep black aluminum MacBook. The patent describes the techniques to process the anodized surface in such a way that almost all light is absorbed. Only then do you get the deep black effect, instead of a gray shade of gray.
Deep black is very difficult to achieve. Smearing paint particles into the pores of an anodized surface is not enough to get a deep black. Apple could also use it for a future iPhone, iPad of Apple Watch, but for devices that must have a glass back for wireless charging (like the iPhone) it is less practical, because it creates too much shine.
All details can be found in Apple’s patent application 20200383224 in the US Patent Office. It was submitted in 2019, so after the matte black iPhone 7 was on the market. It indicates that Apple is still working on it.