According to a patent published yesterday by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Apple is looking to improve the performance of the speakerphones for iOS devices.
The patent reveals that Apple may change the position of the speakerphones (which are currently at the bottom, next to the dock connector) to improve its performance, even when the iPhone or iPad is docked.
iPhone 4S comes with improved speakerphones, probably to ensure that the experience with Apple’s personal assistant Siri is crystal clear, but as you would expect, Apple looks to further improve performance of the speakerphones for future iPhone and iPad models.
Technically speaking, Apple’s invention relates to a speaker having a frame, a sound radiating surface, and a suspension that couples the sound radiating surface to the frame to allow substantially vertical movement of the sound radiating surface relative to the frame. A horizontal former is coupled to the sound radiating surface. The former extends substantially horizontally outward of a peripheral portion of the sound radiating surface, to a peripheral portion that is separate from the suspension. A coil is coupled to the peripheral portion of the horizontal former. This enables the mounting location of the coil to move further outward, thereby substantially increasing the size or area that is spanned by the coil. As a result, a larger coil and magnet assembly is realized, while maintaining the same piston area of the sound radiating surface. This enables the design of a speaker that has a relatively small piston area, for use in relatively small back volume enclosures, but that may have improved performance.
The patent is filled with technical jargon and doesn’t mention any specific benefits to consumers, but as we mentioned earlier, the new position of the speakerphone could provide superior sound, even when docked.
It is important to note that Apple’s patent applications generally reveals a very wide-range of possibilities but might never see the light of day, though its always interesting to get a glimpse of Apple’s recent research effort.