Apple Invents a new Audio Architecture for Future MacBooks that sits beneath the Keyboard & eliminates Speaker Grills
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to new speaker assemblies for future MacBooks.
Apple notes in their patent background that one of the design challenges associated with the manufacture of electronic devices is the assembly of parts that provide different functions into a compact form factor. This design challenge generally arises from a number of conflicting design goals that include the performance of separate components and the user experience while interacting with the electronic device. While many designs and techniques used to provide assemblies for electronic devices have generally worked well in the past, there is always a desire to provide further designs and techniques for alternative aesthetically pleasing yet mechanically strong and lightweight electronic device assemblies.
Apple's invention covers audio system architectures that can include positioning one or more speakers beneath a keyboard such that sound is directed through gaps between keys and/or the body.
Vibrations generated by the speaker can be managed so that transmission of such vibrations to other components is reduced.
During operation, a speaker mounted within a MacBook may move in a manner that generates vibrations. At the same time, a user may operate a keyboard or another component of the electronic device by physically contacting such a component. The vibrations generated by speaker motion can tend to be transmitted throughout the MacBook. It is desirable to reduce or eliminate transmission of such vibrations so that they're not perceptible by a user while in contact with the keyboard.
Systems of the present invention can provide a MacBook with a chassis and a speaker assembly. The speaker assembly can include a speaker support surrounding a speaker and coupled to the chassis via a spring element.
The spring element can be monolithically formed with a main body of the speaker support and be configured to reduce transmission of vibrations generated by the speaker into other components.
For example, the spring element can include an arm that extends within an opening of the main body to connect the main body to a fastener secured to the chassis. The spring element can be provided with features that facilitate wide distribution of loads and relative movement between the speaker assembly and the chassis. With such an arrangement, the speaker assembly can operate from within the laptop (e.g., beneath the keyboard) to generate sound without propagating excessive vibrations throughout the laptop.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a perspective view of a MacBook in an open state; FIG. 2 illustrates a side cross-sectional view of an exemplary keyboard assembly having a speaker disposed there beneath; FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a speaker assembly coupled to the chassis of a MacBook; FIG. 4 illustrates an enlarged view of the speaker assembly of FIG. 3.
Apple further notes that the gaps between the keys of the keyboard allow sound waves generated within the body to be propagated away from the MacBook. In other embodiments, other apertures in the body can be used to provide an audio propagation path from the interior of the body to the exterior.
For example, vents used for air cooling of the processor can also be used to propagate sound waves from the interior of the body.
One advantage of using the gaps between the keys of the keyboard as a path for propagating sound waves can be that additional apertures do not have to be added to the body for the purposes of sound propagation.
The removal of dedicated apertures for sound propagation purposes can provide a design that is considered more aesthetically pleasing.
In addition, the removal of the dedicated apertures can eliminate potential entry points for dust and liquid that can adversely affect the electrical components housed within the MacBook's body.
For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20220026964.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.