Apple creating better-sounding speakerphone for iOS devices

A patent reveals that the company has fashioned a new speakerphone system designed to improve the sound on iOS devices.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

iPhone and iPad users unhappy with their speakerphones may be treated to better sound in future models.

Apple has invented a new speakerphone system for iOS devices, according to a patent published yesterday by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The patent application is filled with pages of the usual technical jargon.

But in a nutshell, Apple is redesigning and repositioning the traditional speaker and surrounding components to enhance the quality of the audio possible in a relatively small space. Though the patent doesn't tout any specific benefits to consumers, "the new speaker positioning could provide iOS devices with generally superior sound, even when docked," according to Patently Apple.

Speakers on mobile phones tend to offer weak sound due to their small size. Even laptops and tablets don't have enough space for high-quality speakers, a factor acknowledged by Apple in its patent application.

There is a range of consumer electronics devices that are not dedicated or specialized audio playback devices, yet can benefit from improved audio performance. For instance, smart phones are ubiquitous. These devices, however, do not have sufficient space to house high fidelity speakers. This is also true for portable personal computers such as laptop, notebook, and tablet computers, and, to a lesser extent, desktop personal computers with built-in speakers.

The redesigned speaker could be used in "relatively small back volume enclosures" and "may have improved performance," the patent said.

Apple is creating the new speaker system for its own mobile phone and tablet. But the technology clearly would benefit a wide range of small devices, certainly one reason why the company saw fit to patent the invention.