Cooling Fans for Future iPhones and iPads?

Apple's iPad 4

Image: Apple’s iPad 4 | Official Website

Last Thursday’s patent filing revealed that Apple is exploring the use of mechanical fans in mobile devices like iPhone and iPad. The component is designed to dissipate the heat caused by increasingly powerful CPUs.

Apple’s Purported Cooling System

As discovered and reported by AppleInsider, the invention is called “Cooling system for mobile electronic devices.” It basically outlines a platform that utilizes a motor to drive two parts—the fan and an alert device.

Based on one illustration, a motor will drive the fan to dissipate the heat. This will be possible by an exchange of air between the mobile device’s inner cavity and an outer environment. Meanwhile, the clutch and drum setup will enable the same motor to drive an alert device like a vibrator.

By combining these two operable components with one motor, it will be able to save space inside a mobile device’s cramped space.

How the Cooling System Works

The fan unit will take care of the Apple device’s cooling, as it can be found within its cavity. Air will be pulled in two ways: Either by a dedicated input port or through an existing component like the headphone jack. On the other hand, the exhaust will be pushed out through the same hole.

Image: Apple’s iPhone 5 | Official Website

Furthermore, the system can drive the device, or the fan, or both dynamically using a clutch. This clutch will switch power to either component. This can be made possible by letting the clutch selectively engage or disengage the fan or vibrator, which can be done based on the drive shaft’s rotational speed.

For example, the motor’s centrifugal force may reach a point where engagement members of the drum shaft will extend out. These members will then engage the inside of a drum, which will cause the drum shaft to rotate.

The patent filing also discussed other advanced methods of connecting the motor to the fan and vibrator. However, these methods are based on similar principles.

What Lies Ahead for Apple Devices

As of the moment, it is still unknown whether Apple will use the purported cooling system in their upcoming mobile devices. It also appears doubtful that this mechanism will be immediately employed, as the company’s products are becoming increasingly thin.

Nevertheless, the cooling system would suit the iPad. It should be recalled that a number of consumers have complained about the high temperature that is being generated when operating the tablet. But prior to this, the Cupertino-based company boasted that their device wouldn’t need noisy cooling fans.

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