Future Mac keyboards could include a microphone under the keyboard, as noted by a newly granted Apple patent (number 10,942,548).
In the patent data Apple says that capturing audio information greater than three meters) from a computing device can be difficult and require multiple microphones to be arranged in certain configurations. And as computing devices become smaller, internal component density increases that can provide constraints on microphone placement. This makes it challenging to provide a microphone implementation in such devices that yields strong audio performance at both near and far field distances.
What’s more, Apple says that the location of openings in a device enclosure or housing that enable microphones arranged in a specific configuration optimized for audio performance to receive audio signals generated from outside the device can detract from the aesthetic appearance of the device. However, the tech giant thinks it’s whipped this problem.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “A computing device includes one or more microphones that function seamlessly with other components within the computing device. In one embodiment, a microphone opening is disposed underneath a keyboard with a channel from the microphone to an opening between the keyboard webbing and a keycap of the keyboard.
“In another embodiment, two microphones can be spaced apart from a keyboard region of the device and a third microphone can be disposed underneath the keyboard region with an channel from the microphone to an opening between the keyboard webbing and a keycap of the keyboard.”