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.

iphone flexible displays
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.

iphone display speaker holes
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.

Tag: Patent

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Top Rated Comments

troop231 Avatar
153 months ago
Cue the iPhone 5F rumors, "F" for flexible. :rolleyes: The most flexible thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D-a-a-n Avatar
153 months ago
Steve would have allowed this.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Johnf1285 Avatar
153 months ago
I just want some iMac news already! :eek:
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
153 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.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mal Avatar
153 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
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bubba Satori Avatar
153 months ago
I just want some iMac news already! :eek:

What's an iMac?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)