Apple Researching Integrated Speaker for iPod Nano and Shuffle

Patently Apple reports on a newly-published patent application from Apple describing the integration of a speaker into the clip of the iPod nano or shuffle. Apple's proposed design includes a recessed portion within the device's clip that would house a piezoelectric speaker.

ipod with speaker clip
Exploded view of iPod nano or shuffle case with speaker integrated into clip

As part of the invention's description, Apple outlines how a small domed or dimpled cover over the speaker could be designed to produce specific acoustic effects, allowing for sufficient movement of air to create the required sound quality for the device.

In some embodiments, the cavity size may be shaped to create a particular frequency response or to otherwise influence the sound produced by the acoustical element. In some embodiments, the interior surface of the cavity may be modified to increase the size of the cavity, to control the frequency response of the cavity, modify the amount of air displaceable by movement of the diaphragm of the acoustical element, and/or to direct sound waves within the cavity and/or out of the cavity. The shape of the surface may be configured to resonate at a certain desired frequency or frequency range that is desired based on its shape. For example, one or more indentations in the surface may be provided to increase the size of the cavity and/or control the frequency response of the cavity. Generally, the larger the size of the cavity, the lower the frequency that may be resonant within the cavity. In some embodiments, holes may be provided in the surface to adjust the frequency response.

Adding a speaker to the iPod's clip would of course mean that it would need to be electrically connected to the main portion of the device, and Apple also describes how thin, flexible wires or microstrips could be routed alongside or through the hinge block that serves as the mounting point for the clip.

Apple does not propose any specific uses for the external audio features enabled by the addition of a speaker clip, and the extremely thin nature of the speaker housing would limit the sound quality achievable through the system. At a minimum, the speaker could provide clicks and beeps as feedback for user input on the device, although more complex audio could also be generated.

Curiously, the exploded view diagram included in the patent application also shows a fairly large hole in the iPod clip, as seen at the bottom left of the diagram. While Apple does not specify the intended function of that hole, it does line up nicely with previously-leaked front and back photos potentially showing a rear-facing camera hole for the iPod nano's main body. That design has, however, yet to see a public debut.

The patent application, simply entitled "Speaker Clip", was filed in May of 2010 with the lead designer listed as Ben Filson, a longtime Apple design engineer who left the company last year to join Tony Fadell's Nest Labs project. The patent application also lists as inventors Eugene Whang and Matt Rohrbach, two key members of Apple's industrial design team.

Top Rated Comments

paul4339 Avatar
130 months ago
speaker + mic means Siri enabled.
one day you'll be able to clip it on your shirt and it'll be just like one of those star trek communicator badges
:eek:



.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adrian.oconnor Avatar
130 months ago
Please no :( It's already bad enough -- kids with speaker phones playing music as they go about their business already brings the tone down. We don't need anymore of that. Hopefully Apple will do the right/classy/tasteful thing, and just forget about it.

Edit: Yeah, almost forgot to add... get off my lawn you damned kids.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skika Avatar
130 months ago
I like the term "exploded view".
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Roessnakhan Avatar
130 months ago
How about bluetooth in the nano first, so people can use wireless headphones?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheMacBookPro Avatar
130 months ago
The fifth generation nano (with the video camera) already had an internal speaker, didn't it?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justinfreid Avatar
130 months ago
Crystal Clear Intent in the Patent

Apple's patents aren't usually so overt, they often try to obscure the intended use of the new technology. In this case, I think we can expect the next Nano to have some type of speaker, perhaps to make it more competitive as a watch.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
2012macpro

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Monday September 24, 2018 3:26 pm PDT by
Apple's new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
ipad pro 10 5

Apple Discontinues 10.5-Inch iPad Pro Following Launch of Lower-Priced 10.5-Inch iPad Air

Monday March 18, 2019 6:09 am PDT by
Apple has stopped selling the second-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro, originally released in June 2017, after launching a new 10.5-inch iPad Air today. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro had remained available from $649 following the release of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models in October 2018, but it has been replaced by the 10.5-inch iPad Air with a cheaper starting price of $499. The new iPad...