The patent, which was filed last year and approved on Thursday, describes a 3D printer capable of producing colored objects. That’s already more than some current 3D printers can do, but the Cupertino company may go even further. Several of its suggested designs include a separate printer head for adding color, simplifying what could otherwise be a very complex process.
The result is a pretty standard looking 3D printer with a second smaller nozzle off to the side. Multiple images show the color nozzle pointed in different directions, suggesting it might even be able to move around autonomously.
If the company does decide to release a 3D printer it probably won’t be cheap. The technology is still pretty expensive, and Apple’s never been afraid to push pricey new gadgets to its fans. Even so, a Cupertino-designed 3D printer could help the technology cross over into the mainstream market even faster.