The next Apple iPhone could sport a sound emitting display like the LG G8 ThinQ
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Most OEMs are set to debut foldable phones this year and we know Apple is also working on one. Foldable screens aside, the next major innovation that we will be seeing in smartphones is to allow the screen to act as a speaker. LG demonstrated it with the G8 ThinQ at MWC this week and looks like Apple will be using a similar implementation in a future iPhone as well.
The patent titled "Audio speaker surround geometry for improved pistonic motion" filed by Apple at the USPTO details a way to minimize distortion by ensuring a perfect up and down piston movement of the speaker diaphragm. While most of the document deals with speaker design, one particular figure (Fig. 15) shows an iPhone-shaped speaker drawing.
While the shape itself might not mean much, the patent goes on to describe a "hermetically sealed barrier" around the edges of the device. This seal would likely help in ensuring the water resistance of the device is not compromised. This indicates a likelihood of reference to a phone rather than a conventional speaker. A screen design that can act as a piston means that OLED panels instead of LCD will likely be used due to their flexibility.
Not much is discussed in the patent apart from the design of the speakers. It is to be noted that a patent filing does not mean an actual product is coming anytime soon and what looks like a probable iPhone could turn out to be totally different product. That being said, all signs point to Apple offering something new in their upcoming iPhones. We will surely be knowing more closer to the September event.