In July 2002, Appled filed a patent for a “Breathing Status LED Indicator” (No. US 6,658,577 B2). They described it as a “blinking effect of the sleep-mode indicator in accordance with the present invention mimics the rhythm of breathing which is psychologically appealing.”
The average respiratory rate for adults is 12-20 breaths per minute, which is the rate that the sleep-indicator light fades in and out on most Apple laptops. Older models such as the Macintosh PowerBook, however, use a blinking LED indicator, with discrete pulses in one-second intervals.
The other day, I noticed that my friend’s Dell laptop had a similar feature but with a shorter fade-in-fade-out period. Its rate was around 40 blinks per second, or the average respiratory rate for adults during strenuous exercise—not very indicative of something in sleep-mode.
It’s interesting how a lot of companies try to copy Apple but never seem to get it right. This is yet another example of Apple’s obsessive attention to detail.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to stare at the gentle, soothing light on my Macbook Pro.