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Apple has an application pending that would probably go into iPhones. The idea is that you have the camera or fingerprint scanner or other electronic component behind a window that can be turned transparent or opaque (probably an LCD layer). The window could also be behind the LCD screen itself, so the display would be normal, but then could selectively show the camera through the display when needed. The publication is 2012/0258773. I've seen some articles talking about this application, so I feel it may be one that Apple is paying attention to. It seems cool, but is it really patent-worthy?

Any prior art publications or products prior to April 7, 2011?

Link to Patent Application US20120258773

Link to Google Prior Art Finder

Claim 1 reads:

  • An electronic device comprising:

    • A window configured to selectively become transparent or opaque;
    • A component disposed behind the window, wherein the component comprises an image capture device, a strobe flash, a biometric
      sensor, a light sensor, a proximity sensor, or a solar panel, or a
      combination thereof;
    • Data processing circuitry configured to determine when an event requesting that the component be exposed occurs; and
    • A window controller configured to cause the window to become transparent to expose the component upon the occurrence of the event requesting that the component be exposed.

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