Apple Invents a new Cooling Fan System for Future Apple Silicon-based Macs, especially a next-gen iMac
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a new cooling fan system for Macs in general with the iMac being emphasized. As Apple Silicon brings greater speeds and graphics power to future Macs, Apple engineers decided that the Mac's cooling system needed an overhaul. Apple specifically focuses on a new guide vane, used to improve airflow through the fan assembly. The guide vane is also able to reduce noise of the fan when in operation.
Apple notes that in order to draw the resultant increased heated air away from the internal components, the fan can run at higher speeds. However, running the fan at a higher rotational speed tends to increase noise generation due to an associated increase in airflow velocity through the fan. Further, in some instances, not only can the increased speed generate additional nose, but also cause flow separation and recirculation in which the heated air does not flow directly out of the fan outlet. When this occurs, the overall fan performance decreases.
Apple's invention covers an enclosure that defines an internal volume. The electronic device may further include a fan assembly positioned in the internal volume. The fan assembly may include a fan housing that defines a fan inlet and a fan outlet.
The fan assembly may further include an impeller that drives air into the fan inlet. The fan assembly may further include a guide vane positioned in the fan housing. In some embodiments, at least some of the air received by the impeller is directed by the guide vane prior to passing through the fan outlet.
n another aspect, an electronic device is described. The electronic device may include an enclosure that defines an internal volume. The enclosure may include an opening. The electronic device may further include a display coupled with the enclosure. The electronic device may further include a stand rotationally coupled to the enclosure.
The electronic device may further include a heat-generating component positioned in the internal volume. The electronic device may further include a fan assembly positioned in the internal volume. The fan assembly may be configured to draw air that is heated by the heat-generating component (Processor) out of the enclosure via the opening. Also, the fan assembly may include a guide vane that directs the air received by the fan assembly prior exiting the opening.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates an alternate isometric view of the fan assembly and shows an exemplary movement of airflow through the fan assembly; FIG. 6 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of the fan assembly, showing the guide vane and airflow in relation to the guide vane.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates a front isometric view of an iMac (with a different stand); FIG 2 illustrates the new cooling fan system; FIG. 5 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view of the new iMac with its cooling system in place with air vents displayed.
Apple's patent FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate the new cooling system could apply to other forms of Mac hardware. While the new M1 MacBooks run quieter it's unknown at this time if it's due to Apple's new fan system described in this patent filing.
Additionally, the guide vane can increase the volume of air passing through the fan assembly for a given rotational fan speed (in revolutions per minute, or RPM), as compared to a fan assembly without a guide vane. For instance, the amount of air passing through the fan assembly using the guide vane can increase by 2% or more for a given fan speed. Put another way, a fan assembly can run at a lower fan speed and drive the same, or at least substantially similar, amount of air through the fan assembly, as compared to a fan assembly without a guide vane.
This leads to additional advantages. For example, broadband acoustic noise generated by a fan assembly is a function of fan speed. By reducing the fan speed, the acoustic noise perceived by a user of the electronic device is reduced, which can enhance the overall user experience of the electronic device. Both computational and empirical studies show that the guide vane not only promotes airflow through the fan assembly, but also reduces noise generation.
For finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210051823.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.