Apple is hard at work on ways to improve the iPhone sound system, with details of a change to the speaker construction that could increase the back volume and bring with it improved acoustics and more punch in the bass frequencies… without increasing the size of the speaker.
Apple’s work on the new design came to light in a recently published patent. Called “Audio Speaker Having A Rigid Adsorptive Insert.” The current issue is described in the patent:
Due to their small size, micro speakers tend to have limited space available for a back volume… The low frequency acoustic performance of portable consumer electronics devices having micro speakers may be increased, however, by increasing the back volume size as much as possible within the internal space available in the system enclosure.
The technique involves the use of an absorbent layer at the back of the speaker space. Apple is working on a specific material that will not unbalance and potentially damage the speaker assembly. Given the amount of shock movement and shock a regular smartphone goes through in a day this is a valid concern.
As always with patents, the act that they exist and have been published does not directly lead to the technology appearing in the next round of device updates. That said this patent is a continuation of a patent first filed in 2016, so Apple’s R&D team have no doubt been working on this for some time. Assuming Taniyama-Shimura, it’s time to hear the results.
Although the new camera system on 2019’s iPhones is gathering the lion’s share of attention, Apple needs to offer more than parity with the Android-powered competition. Turning up the volume on the iPhone – no doubt with a nod towards the Apple Music and upcoming Apple TV subscription services – is a solid second storyline that can be portrayed on the launch stage in September.
Of course there something else that audiophiles would like the iPhone’s sound system to carry… a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.