Apple patent hints at Mac laptops with improved speakers

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20180014115) for an “electronic device having mechanically out-of-phase speakers” that hints at even better speakers in upcoming Mac laptops.

In the patent, Apple notes that electronic devices sometimes include a pair of loudspeakers to generate sound from electrical audio signals. Typically, the pair of loudspeakers are located in a common enclosure and are both acoustically and mechanically in-phase. 

More particularly, the loudspeakers are acoustically in-phase because they generate sound from a same audio signal, and the loudspeakers are mechanically in-phase because the same audio signal drives respective diaphragms of the loudspeakers simultaneously in the same direction. Apple thinks its idea is a better one.

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The invention involves an electronic device (think laptop) having several speaker modules that are acoustically in-phase and mechanically out-of-phase is disclosed. Embodiments include a pair of speaker modules mounted at respective ends of a lateral link, and the lateral link may be supported relative to a housing of the electronic device. 

The speaker modules may receive a same audio signal, and the audio signal may drive a first voicecoil in a first direction and a second voicecoil in a second direction. Accordingly, the speaker modules may be driven in mechanically different directions by the same audio signal, such that reactive forces cancel and/or mechanical energy is dissipate in the lateral link between the speaker modules.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.