Apple was recently awarded a patent which it applied for back in 2013. The patent clearly points to a revamped speaker design that makes use of an audio chamber inside the device, allowing it to pump out louder and clearer audio.
The patent goes on to describe how difficult it has become in recent times to deliver better audio quality. This is a problem that applies more to Apple than anyone else since the company’s iPhone and iPads (more on this later) keep growing thinner every year.
“Given the area constraints imposed on many portable electronic devices, it is increasingly difficult to provide high-quality audio sound output and pickup without hindering the ability to make portable electronic devices smaller and thinner. Consequently, there is a need for improved approaches to provide high-quality audio sound output and/or pickup from portable electronic devices as they get smaller and thinner.”
Reading further reveals that Apple has its own formula to tackle the problem in the form of air chambers that extend into the chassis of the device. This according to Apple, helps deliver louder and clearer audio because the drivers can now push out more air instead of minute volume available at the edge of the device (where they are usually mounted), inside the speaker module.
“The invention pertains to a portable electronic device that provides compact configurations for audio elements. The audio elements can be drivers (e.g., speakers) or receivers (e.g., microphones). In one embodiment, an audio element can be mounted on or coupled to an intermediate structure (e.g., a flexible electrical substrate) having an opening therein to allow audio sound to pass there through. In another embodiment, an audio chamber can be formed to assist in directing audio sound between an opening an outer housing and a flexible electronic substrate to which the audio element is mounted or coupled thereto.”
While we would like to believe that we could see the same tech appear on the iPhone 7, it may already be out there. Yes, if you have a look at the image below, the new iPad Pro’s design clearly shows off a design similar to the idea in the patent.
However, we could expect a similar layout with the bigger iPhone 7 Plus models (due to the bigger body) and may be two speaker grilles that actually deliver full-fledged stereo audio.
Also there is plenty of “noise” regarding Apple omitting the 3.5mm audio jack on the upcoming iPhone 7 thanks to its slimmer design. In fact, getting rid of the large (for Apple) 3.5mm jack could lead to a bigger cavity for a secondary speaker on the left bottom side. This and the above patent could hint that Apple’s highlight at the September keynote would indeed be audio technology.