Change can be difficult, and despite how much some Apple fans may not want it to be true, it’s sounding more and more possible that the next iPhone could launch without a traditional analog headphone jack, going the all-Lightning route for the phone’s wired connectivity options. That threatens to present us with a pretty big adjustment to make, but it may not be alone in changes Apple’s cooking up for the iPhone 7’s audio system. At least, a newly published Apple patent suggests that the company’s also been working on ways to engineer itself a better smartphone speaker, one able to fit in narrower enclosures while also delivering high-fidelity sound.
That kind of tech sounds like a perfect fit for an iPhone that loses its headphone jack, as the loss of that port is expected to allow Apple to shrink its handset’s cross-section to new depths of thinness.
Reading through the patent, there doesn’t appear to be any one stand-out design around which this tech is based, and instead it lays out a number of strategies for mounting phone components to create acoustic chambers while still keeping handset design quite thin. We’re not talking about working with anywhere near the kind of space Apple’s reserved for the big chambers on the iPad Pro, but even these smaller improvements could contribute towards giving a future iPhone some loud, clear audio output – even if the handset comes in with a narrow frame.
Patents being what they are, there’s no guarantee we’ll see Apple use this tech on the iPhone 7, but even if it isn’t featured there, it could be a system the company employs on a further-out-still handset.