Back in 2015 Apple was granted its first patent relating to audio being delivered through a display. The invention could be applied to future devices such an iPhone, an iPad, a computer monitor and a heads-up display. Apple was granted its second patent for this in 2017 and its third patent in 2018.
While Apple sat on this technology, Sony introduced it’s equivalent technology at CES 2017 under the trademark “Acoustic Surface,” as presented below in the brief 1:35 min. video.
While LG introduced their version of this technology under the trademark “Crystal Sound Display” for TVs, they also aimed it for desktop and notebook displays as presented below.
This week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published LG’s latest patent for this technology. LG states that their invention is to provide a display apparatus for providing improved sound quality and for increasing an immersion experience of a viewer. Another aspect of the invention is to provide a display apparatus that generates sound for traveling to a forward region in front of a display panel.
LG notes in patent FIG. 1 above that the display apparatus may output sounds S1, S2, and S3, based on a vibration of a display module #100 configured to display an image. The display module may vibrate by a vibration generating device (or a sound generating device) to generate the sounds S1, S2, and S3.
The sounds S1 and S2 of the sounds S1, S2, and S3 generated based on the vibration of the display module may be directly output to a screen forward region FD in front of the display apparatus, and the other sound S3 may be output to a side surface of the display apparatus and may travel to the screen forward region FD thereby enabling the transfer of an accurate sound, improving sound quality, and increasing an immersion experience of a viewer.
LG’s patent FIG. 17G above illustrates various disposition structures of first and second vibration generating modules in a display apparatus. For more on this, read the full patent application 20200213699 here.
It’s always maddening to see Apple’s patented technology make it to market first by other industry players. Whether Apple will ever bring this feature to market remains unknown at this time.
However, many rumors have pointed to a new redesigned iMac that may surface this year without it’s traditional chin that housed its speakers. One such concept floating around the net is shown below. Could Apple be thinking of bringing their sound-through-display technology to life in their next iMac? Only time will tell.