Apple has been granted a new patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that could change the speaker game forever. The patent, titled “Flexible Speakers”, describes the use of hinges in cylindrical, spherical, or other non-flat audio speakers to bend the walls and produce big sounds into small enclosures.
The filing not only emphasizes the benefits of flexible speakers but also how they can be integrated into other electronic devices with ease. Apple is known for its range of high-quality smart speakers, including the cylindrical HomePod 2 and the spherical HomePod mini. Although both these speakers have received rave reviews for their sound quality, the tech giant is looking for ways to enhance their flexibility.
The patent explains that flexible walls in a speaker could be folded, bent, or curved to integrate easily with other devices like laptops, phones, and smart displays. The use of flexible components in speakers could support ease of integration and improved conformability in a variety of electronic devices such as head-mounted displays, laptops, smartphones, or wearable devices.
“In some examples, components such as magnets, diaphragms, and walls of a housing of a speaker can be flexible and operable in various folded, bent, or curved configurations,” the filing reads.
“In other examples, walls of a speaker can include sections coupled by hinges that allow flexibility or deformation of portions of the speaker. The flexible speakers described herein can be implemented in a variety of consumer devices to take advantage of limited packaging space and achieve improved deformability of the consumer device.”
The patent details the use of hinges and ribs to achieve flexible walls that could wrap around devices and produce sound waves in both undeformed and deformed states. This means that the speakers would be able to produce quality sound even when bent or curved.
“The speaker may include ribs disposed at spaced locations in the back volume,” it says, “[with] each rib extending from one wall toward another wall in an alternating manner, and the ribs forming a circuitous flow path for air generated during vibration of the diaphragm.”
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Apple files multiple patents in a year, and not every described technology makes it into products. Nonetheless, if the company decides to use this technology in its future products, it could be a game-changer for the speaker industry.
Apple’s patent showcases the company’s continuous efforts to innovate and create new technologies that can enhance the user experience. The use of flexible speakers could be a step towards creating more versatile and adaptable devices that can seamlessly integrate into our daily lives.
Overall, the patent suggests that Apple is looking to revolutionize the speaker industry by incorporating flexibility and integration into its products. As always, only time will tell if this technology will make it into the market and how it will impact the industry.