Apple’s patented idea of flexible displays doubling as speakers could happen with new Gorilla Glass from Corning

“This past summer Apple was granted a patent for flexible displays with unique functionality,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “One of the noted unique properties was that it could allow the display of an iPhone or future TV, for instance, to act as a speaker.”

“Audio would simply go through the display, [eliminating] the need to build speaker grills on devices,” Purcher reports. “Esthetically speaking, that would be something that Apple’s industrial designer Jony Ive would love to boast about.”

Purcher reports, “As crazy as that invention sounded at the time, we find out today that Corning actually has this type of display in their lab.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. This would be awesome. One beef I have with all iPhones to date have been that the speaker is shooting sound off to the side, making it impossible to show anyone videos if there’s even moderate background noise.

    Of course there’s a possible downside: how will various screen protectors distort the sound…

    1. ?v=1194729857000
      I learned long ago to hold my phone with my hand “scooping” the sound out to the front. Time for a marching drummer to design a scoop for our phones!

      1. I do the scooping hand myself if I have to watch something without my earbuds around, but even when I try showing others how to do that, they almost always still start leaning the speaker toward one ear, until they can’t actually see the video. I know the iPhone’s not meant to be a full-fledged portable video unit suited for all situations, but it’s still funny and frustrating at the same time.

  2. Um, I want to see exactly what this is before I care. How glass and ‘flexible’ go together is beyond my comprehension at this time. I also worry about any display vibrating at a rate that’s visible to the human eye. We (certainly younger folks) can hear down to 20 Hz, which would be quite visible screen vibration, not a good thing.

    1. For a speaker to be able to reproduce such low frequencies, it would need to have a diaphragm at least 40cm in diameter. The tiny speakers that are feasible on the iPhone are at most 10mm in diameter, and the lowest frequency they can push out at a meaningful volume is well above 150Hz. Vibrations at such frequency (and their amplitude) are virtually invisible to the naked eye. If you’re unsure, try observing your home speaker’s tweeters and see if you can notice that they vibrate.

      1. If we’re talking iPhone (apologies if we are and I spaced out) then I entirely see your point and reply: ‘Never mind.’ — Except I’d still like to know how the ‘glass’ is going to vibrate. It would have to be mounted in material that allows the entire pane to vibrate within the desired frequency range. IOW I’m still a bit vague about how this is supposed to work as well as what audio frequency range is supposed to be reasonably represented. We’ll know eventually.

  3. Well flat speakers have been around for years, taking the form of photographs and prints or paintings hanging on your wall for example so this isn’t such a great leap, bit surprised it hasn’t happened before really, but I think its more about quality over traditional highly developed speakers than concept that has restricted its implementation more widely I would guess. That factor may dictate if and when we see it but on small devices one can see that potentially it could create better quality sound as against a tiny separate speaker.

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