Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,190,864) for a “speaker unit for head-mountable device.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display.
About the patent
Apple notes in the patent that an HMD can be worn by a user to display visual information within the field-of-view of the user. The device can be used as a virtual reality (VR) system, an augmented reality (AR) system, and/or a mixed reality (MR) system.
A user may observe outputs provided by the HMD, such as visual information provided on a display. The display can optionally allow a user to observe an environment outside of the device.
Other outputs provided by the head-mountable device can include speaker output and/or haptic feedback. A user may further interact with the HMD by providing inputs for processing by one or more components of the head-mountable device. Apple wants its Apple Glasses to allow a user to provide tactile inputs, voice commands, and other inputs while the device is mounted to his/her head.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A head-mountable device can include a speaker unit that provides structural support to its own components and electrical connections between other components. The arrangement of conductive strips within a back plate of a speaker unit can provide the structural support needed by the components of a speaker while allowing components on opposing sides of the speaker unit to be operably connected to each other. By providing both functions with the conductive strips of a back plate, the total space required is minimized so that the head-securement element (e.g., band) of the head-mountable device maintains a thin profile.”
About Apple Glasses
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive in 2022 or 2023, depending on which rumor you believe. It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be eventually be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”