Apple patent details smart ceiling lighting used in next-gen Apple Stores

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
As part of efforts to revitalize an aging retail design language, Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for ceiling lighting systems that are currently rolling out to so-called "next-generation" Apple Stores around the world.


Source: USPTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 9,217,247 for a "Ceiling system" details an indoor lighting installation comprised of wall-to-wall lighted ceiling panels and linear light troughs. Renditions of the patent are already being used in new international builds, one of the first being Brussels, as well as recently renovated locations like Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus outlet.

Instead of single points of light or individual banks, Apple's design turns an entire ceiling into a huge diffused lighting apparatus. According to Apple, uniform lighting offers an ideal customer experience and offers flexible product display options for wide-open spaces, an Apple Store hallmark that is taking on new meaning under retail chief Angela Ahrendts.




In various embodiments lighted or non-lighted ceiling panels extend from one wall to another, sectioned off at regular intervals by narrow inverted troughs. Lighted panels might contain LEDs or other light sources spaced out evenly, either directed down toward the show floor through a fabric or plastic diffuser, or up to a reflective backing.

Troughs span the ceiling and incorporate LED subsystems that can be oriented to emit light horizontally toward a trough's centerline, or vertically as a downlight. Certain embodiments allow for a T-bar to extend downward, allowing space for air ducting.

Thanks to the innovative design, cameras, speakers, alarms, fire suppression systems and other electrical systems can be mounted behind the proposed ceiling panels and within the longitudinal troughs, keeping them hidden from view. While not in the patent language, Apple can also build iBeacon hardware directly into the ceiling.


Apple SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts (right) tours a mockup Apple Store with interviewer Charlie Rose. | Source: CBS News


Under the guidance of Ahrendts, with the help of CDO Jony Ive, Apple's brick-and-mortar retail chain is undergoing a major facelift. On Sunday, Ahrendts gave "60 Minutes" a sneak peek at a mockup Apple Store housed in a nondescript building near Apple's Cupertino headquarters, saying her goal is to provide customers a dynamic shopping experience when they visit one of the next-gen outlets.

Apple's ceiling lighting system patent was first filed for in February 2014 and credits Stefan Behling, David Nelson, James McGrath, Wolfgang Muller, Lorenzo Poli, Bernd Richter, Robert Bridger, Jonathan P. Siegel, Vasco Agnoli and Casey Feeney as its inventors.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    That was the first thing I notice in the previous post about next gen Retail design. Those LED flat lighting system looks far too bright. ( At least in picture ) And it kind of made the Store feels less spacious with the overhead being "cramped".

    Then there is the maintenance and cleaning problem. And to those who dont know the story should search Steve Jobs's lesson on telling the designer to clean their floor.

    Edit: OK i did that for you

    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/10/02/forbes-untold-stories-steve-jobs/



  • Reply 2 of 17
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Hope this helps stop the plummeting of the stock.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I actually expected Angela to take Apple's retail experience in the other direction: using differences in lighting (point/mood lighting) to subtly create different zones within a store. The "home theater" zone. The "earphone zone". The "Kids" Zone. To me, the flat overhead lighting looks like the fluorescent panels in a library or school cafeteria. I.e., Ick.  Hopefully the real-world experience is better than the photo.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,759member
    ksec said:
    That was the first thing I notice in the previous post about next gen Retail design. Those LED flat lighting system looks far too bright. ( At least in picture ) And it kind of made the Store feels less spacious with the overhead being "cramped".
    Seeing customer videos of outside and inside the Brussels store those brightness concerns seem unfounded. And regarding the store feeling less spacious with these new ceilings, I'm not sure what gives you that idea, because my initial reaction was the exact opposite.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,772member
    ksec said:
    That was the first thing I notice in the previous post about next gen Retail design. Those LED flat lighting system looks far too bright. ( At least in picture ) And it kind of made the Store feels less spacious with the overhead being "cramped".

    Then there is the maintenance and cleaning problem. And to those who dont know the story should search Steve Jobs's lesson on telling the designer to clean their floor.

    Edit: OK i did that for you

    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/10/02/forbes-untold-stories-steve-jobs/



    The photo looks very over-exposed. I'm sure it wil lbe fine in the store. Diffuse and non-glaring lighting should help make it easier to view the screens of the gear and packaging of accessories.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    When I watched the 60 Minutes Apple story yesterday and this segment began, the first thing I noticed after those enormous and very cool looking pivoting glass doors was the all white evenly lit ceiling.

    My first impression was that I thought the ceiling looked lower than the average Apple Store in an average mall, and I wasn't sure if I liked it. At first blush it reminded me of the kind of ceiling one might see in a science fiction movie.

    Then as the segment went on, I wondered if my eyes were tricking me. It's hard get a proper impression by only seeing it on video. I'd really like to see what its like in person.
    ireland
  • Reply 7 of 17
    This is a great design. Cleaning will not be an issue. This fits with the clean and simple look Apple is known for. The experience will be fantastic. On a side note...why make the ceiling clean and then have a cord running up the middle of tables in plain view of the customer? You can easily incorporate that into the structure of the table out of view. Just saying.
    gregoriusmcali
  • Reply 8 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,530member
    ksec said:
    That was the first thing I notice in the previous post about next gen Retail design. Those LED flat lighting system looks far too bright. ( At least in picture ) And it kind of made the Store feels less spacious with the overhead being "cramped".

    Then there is the maintenance and cleaning problem. And to those who dont know the story should search Steve Jobs's lesson on telling the designer to clean their floor.

    Edit: OK i did that for you

    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/10/02/forbes-untold-stories-steve-jobs/




    Yeah, we know. Apple can’t do anything right since Steve died. Thanks fro reminding us.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    ireland said:
    ksec said:
    That was the first thing I notice in the previous post about next gen Retail design. Those LED flat lighting system looks far too bright. ( At least in picture ) And it kind of made the Store feels less spacious with the overhead being "cramped".
    Seeing customer videos of outside and inside the Brussels store those brightness concerns seem unfounded. And regarding the store feeling less spacious with these new ceilings, I'm not sure what gives you that idea, because my initial reaction was the exact opposite.
    Well i didn't see that video, i am mainly telling it from that one picture, good thing those concern are not justify. 
    ireland
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Having "zones" in the store with different lighting/moods? Yuck. Don't turn an Apple Store into a big box electronics retailer.
    edited December 2015 gregoriusmnolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Looks like a more permanent version of how I've been lighting sets for years.
    They even use baby studs to mount it in places.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    They just need a giant black obelisk at the foot of a bed, and they'll be all ready to go.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,759member
    This is a great design. Cleaning will not be an issue. This fits with the clean and simple look Apple is known for. The experience will be fantastic. On a side note...why make the ceiling clean and then have a cord running up the middle of tables in plain view of the customer? You can easily incorporate that into the structure of the table out of view. Just saying.
    I always wondered this. The only expiation is it allows them the ability to move the tables, but that's not a satisfying explanation. Clearly the main power chord should be within one of the legs of the table.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I'm surprised that this is even patentable.  I'm a strong proponent. Of the patent system but honestly there is a lot of prior art here.  
  • Reply 15 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,759member
    Having "zones" in the store with different lighting/moods? Yuck. Don't turn an Apple Store into a big box electronics retailer.
    Zones of whatever you want to call them are exactly what this store has. But lighting remains consistent.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Nice. Apple can't wait for architectural tech so they innovate themselves.
    Can't wait for 2019 when fandroids claim Apple Stores are copies of Sammy stores.

    This is a great design. Cleaning will not be an issue. This fits with the clean and simple look Apple is known for. The experience will be fantastic. On a side note...why make the ceiling clean and then have a cord running up the middle of tables in plain view of the customer? You can easily incorporate that into the structure of the table out of view. Just saying.
    Some tables have 2 ugly coiled chords hanging.

    Having "zones" in the store with different lighting/moods? Yuck. Don't turn an Apple Store into a big box electronics retailer.
    It works in theory but Apple Stores would need multiple rooms for this to be fully realised. Not gonna happen.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    steviestevie Posts: 956member
    Our patent law system is badly broken.
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