Why the iPhone’s Speaker is on the Bottom of the Handset

Have you ever wondered why Apple chose to place the iPhone’s speaker at the bottom of the handset? It’s a minor detail really, but the minor details is what Apple prides itself in most. The company has been known to really focus on the small things.

But Apple doesn’t do things without a specific purpose in mind either, and the iPhone’s speaker-placement is a perfect example of that. Designer Dustin Curtis found this out the hard way when he switched from his iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S II…

After switching smartphones, Curtis found himself sleeping right through his phone’s alarm in the mornings. He verified it was set correctly, and that the phone wasn’t turning off or becoming unplugged overnight, but it kept happening.

Finally he figured out the problem. The phone’s speaker is located on the back of the handset, so when it’s laid down on a flat surface the sound gets muffled. In fact, most Android phones are like this, including those from Motorola and HTC.

But because the iPhone’s speaker is located on the bottom of the phone, no matter how the device lays it isn’t blocked. “Yet another one of those design decisions that you don’t really appreciate until you see someone doing it wrong.” Interesting.