A few years ago, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed several patent applications for earbuds that would significantly reduce power consumption and cancel out noise. One of the patents also covered starting and stopping music based on whether the buds are in the ear.
A look at the filed patents
The first patent filed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is described as a system of touch sensors. It would include a variety of sensors such as force sensors, capacitive touch detectors, acoustic sensor, and accelerometers. It is these particular sensors that can determine whether the buds are in the ear or not. The system can also turn the noise-cancelling feature on or off.
The same patent goes on to describe two different types of noise cancellation. One of those types is actually powered by the headset, the second type would operate using the processor in the device. In both cases, the noise cancelling feature will take power to operate, so the automatic switching would have a positive impact on battery life.
The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent filings show the noise canceling features are similar to the current iPhone implementation as the mic picks up audio signals and routes them to process components. The system then is fed to an equal or opposite signal, and the noise-cancelling process is accomplished via the audio accessory or on the device.
What Apple could accomplish with new patents
The second patent utilizes the same technology as the previous patent, however, this one covers playing/pausing the music. This particular patent is ideal for users who use music streaming services such as Spotify or Rhapsody. These patent applications were first filed on November 29, 2013. Given the fact Apple recently acquired Beats, it is not surprising the company wants to reignite interest in music products. Whether Apple actually brings these new patents to fruition remains to be seen. Like almost all major companies, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sometimes files patents that are never developed into commercial products.