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Apple patent round-up: iPhone speakers, flexible batteries, Waze-like Maps, self-adjusting earphones

Ashleigh Allsopp | July 8, 2013
Several new Apple patent applications have been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today, including improved built-in iPad and iPhone speakers, flexible battery packs, advanced Waze-like Maps app improvements, the ability to restrict touchscreen interaction and self-adjusting earphones.

Several new Apple patent applications have been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today, including improved built-in iPad and iPhone speakers, flexible battery packs, advanced Waze-like Maps app improvements, the ability to restrict touchscreen interaction and self-adjusting earphones.

Improved iPad and iPhone speaker
On 4 July, the US Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application that covers a new speaker design that could be used to improve the sound emitted by built-in speakers in future iPad and iPhone models.

The new design aims to improve the audio delivery from small computers for music, video and speakerphone. In addition to smartphones and tablets, Apple highlights that laptops and notebooks, and even some desktop computers and low profile television sets with built-in speakers, could benefit from better a speaker design.

"In small back volume speaker boxes, improvements in low frequency performance are difficult to achieve since the air inside the box is confined to a small space which in turn may reduce the compliance of the driver," Apple states in its patent background. "In addition, a large front volume tends to reduce the quality of sound output from the device."

Apple proposes a new speaker assembly system with a Sound Radiating Surface (SRS) in order to resolve the problem.

As highlighted by Patently Apple, this is the third time Apple has attempted to come up with an effective speaker design for its iOS devices. In May 2012, Apple published its first design for an advanced sound system, which was followed by a second design in March this year and now this latest design.

Flexible battery packs
In addition to the improved speaker, other patent applications published on Thursday include one relating to flexible battery packsfor mobile devices. This latest battery-related patent aims to overcome the drawbacks of conventional battery packs, which may not be able to conform to new form factors, and could also include multiple cells subject to collect dust or moisture in their cavities.

In order to overcome these drawbacks, Apple has come up with a flexible battery pack that may include a variety of cells and laminate layers coupled to those cells. By using an adhesive to couple the top and bottom layers together and separate the cells from one another, the battery can be shaped to fit a particular form factor, whether it has a slight curve in a future iPhone, for example, or further still a wearable device such as the rumoured iWatch. The arrangement will also allow individual cells to be removed.

Advanced Maps app
Among the newly published Apple patent applications is also one relating to its Maps app. With this invention, Apple Maps users will be able to provide ratings for routes, streets and locations.

 

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