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Apple Researching Flexible iPhone Displays with Under-Surface Speakers, Tactile Feedback, Laser Microphones

Unwired View takes a look at a newly-published Apple patent application addressing the company's interest in flexible displays and related inventions enabled by that technology.


In the patent application, Apple details various iPhone form factors with concave and convex displays, and while such concepts have seen relatively significant work by a host of companies, Apple takes things a step further by using substantial flexibility in its proposed display to integrate features such as a tactile keyboard and microphones and speakers embedded under the display.
E.g. – by placing an array of piezoelectric actuators below the display and activating them on demand for tactile feedback. This way you have a perfectly smooth surface when you browse the net or read your e-mail. Call up a keyboard, actuators pop up and now you can feel the letters as you type.

Since your display is flexible – it could be able react to the sound vibrations as you speak. So why not put a laser microphone behind the display to capture those vibrations, and get rid of traditional mic holes?

And if you can capture sound vibrations via flexible display, how about generating sound waves? No problem. Just put a transducer behind it to transform electric current into vibrations, add some support structure/barrier around it and that part of your flex display becomes a speaker membrane.

Holes in cover layer to accommodate in-display speakers

Many of the inventions addressed in Apple's patent applications never see the light of day, but they can provide insight on the company's areas of interest and long-term vision for the future of its products.

Top Rated Comments

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27 months ago
Cue the iPhone 5F rumors, "F" for flexible. :rolleyes: The most flexible thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.
Rating: 14 Votes
27 months ago
I just want some iMac news already! :eek:
Rating: 12 Votes
27 months ago
Steve would have allowed this.
Rating: 12 Votes
27 months ago

How about we take the time and fix the horrible iOS 6 battery life before we start making flexible phones...

First we have to end hunger. When no child goes to bed hungry in the world, we can start looking at iOS 6 battery life.

If you're going to focus on one thing at a time, get your priorities straight.
Rating: 10 Votes
27 months ago

I just want some iMac news already! :eek:


What's an iMac?
Rating: 7 Votes
27 months ago

i particularly love how its so futuristic but still carries that freakin stupid home button ^^


Don't knock the home button. I've got a Samsung phone with those stupid capacitive buttons along the bottom of the screen, and if an app locks up or is running poorly, my only recourse is to restart the whole phone (or wait it out). With a physical button, I'm not dependent on the buttons being recognized and I can force quit the app. Plus, it simply looks and feels nicer.

jW
Rating: 7 Votes
27 months ago

Speaker holes on a touchscreen that you rub your fingers all over? Sounds like a BAD idea to me... oil and dirt would clog them up very quickly, I think.


Where do you see anything about holes?
Rating: 6 Votes
27 months ago
Before anyone says "others always follow Apple" :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsIjfy8g2Pk

CES 2011 says Hi!

Glad Apple is also researching this. Flexible displays are going to really make device design explode as multiple shapes will be possible now instead of a flat surface.

Transparent display is also another area vendors need to start exploring. (http://www.engadget.com/tag/transparent+display/)
Rating: 6 Votes
27 months ago

I just want some iMac news already! :eek:


Very appropriately placed post in this thread.

Never concern yourself with the actual topic of the thread...that's for wimps.

:rolleyes: ;)
Rating: 5 Votes
27 months ago

Speaker holes on a touchscreen that you rub your fingers all over? Sounds like a BAD idea to me... oil and dirt would clog them up very quickly, I think.


It cleary says UNDER the display. As in you wouldnt see the speaker holes at all.
Rating: 5 Votes

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