Apple patent shows iPhones could be following a similar path to the LG G8

Image credit: TechRadar

New patents filed by Apple show that an upcoming iPhone or iPad – possibly the iPhone 11, although that could be a little too early – could use a sound-emitting display similar to the one on the LG G8 ThinQ.

A sound-emitting display uses vibration of the screen to amplify music and sound, in a similar way to the human inner-ear diaphragm or the head of a drum. 

LG used the tech in its TVs before developing it for its ThinQ devices, and now we know Apple is considering the technology too.

In Apple’s patent filing there are several different designs which show ways this would work, using different processes and technologies to turn the screen into a speaker. 

It looks to be something of a scattershot approach, which suggests the company is still in the early stages of testing. 

Apple’s patents only show the display, not the rest of the device, so it’s not clear if the device will also have speakers, like the G8 ThinQ, or will rely on the display speaker.

Image credit: Apple / US Patent and Trademark Office

Image credit: Apple / US Patent and Trademark Office

Also shown in the patents was more evidence that Apple could be developing a foldable device, with a self-heating hinge that prevents cold damaging the flexible screen, and a latch that prevents the device opening when too cool. 

Of course, a design being patented is a far cry from it being confirmed for future devices – Apple has already patented a collection of wildly different foldable designs

Yet between the foldable device patents and sound-emitting display design, it’s clear the company is working to keep up with its rivals by introducing cutting-edge features to its future iPhones or iPads.

Apple traditionally stays tight-lipped about its patents, and leaks and rumors, before it officially announces its devices, and since the annual iPhone launch is always towards the end of the year we’ve got a long time to wait before any of these features are confirmed for the device.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.