Apple was granted patents today that include a concept for water-resistant iPhone speakers and a bone conduction technology that could bring advanced noise cancellation to future earbuds (via AppleInsider).

The first application granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is titled "Liquid resistant acoustic device" and details a protected acoustic port that uses a special mesh "umbrella" inserted between apertures in a device's housing, similar to the design of the mesh-covered loudspeaker found in current iPhones.

Speaker water resistant patent
If liquid enters through the housing apertures it immediately comes into contact with the umbrella and is directed away from the internals, although in some versions a small amount of liquid is allowed to pass through if the handset is under significant pressure, to avoid structural damage.

Apple's invention also includes a second line of liquid defense, in the form of a "hydrophobic" coating applied to the outer surface of the iPhone housing and mesh umbrella, while a "hydrophilic" coating applied to the inside of the mesh works to draw liquid out.

Bone conduction acoustic patent
As with all patents, whether or not Apple decides to use the invention in any future product remains unclear, although AppleInsider notes that a similar port design can already be found on the current Apple Watch.

Several rumors claim that the upcoming iPhone 7 could be properly waterproof, but it's not obvious that the invention described above would meet the requirements of such a specification.

Bone conduction patent
Another Apple patent was awarded today, called "System and method of mixing accelerometer and microphone signals to improve voice quality in a mobile device". This one describes a headset that uses bone conduction technology to effectively filter out ambient noise.

The invention works by using accelerometers that detect vocal chord vibrations which reverberate through the user's skull. Coupled with an onboard microphone, the system is able to measure output signals and effectively parse out ambient noise vibrations.

Output from both systems are processed through a noise cancellation unit which then outputs a clean signal for transmission.

Tag: Patent
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

2010mini Avatar
79 months ago
Long overdue for water resistance.
The current ones are. What you are looking for is Apple to officially say it is.

iPhones are built a lot tougher than you think.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zimmie Avatar
79 months ago
Didn't Jawbone do this already? Unless Apple's way of doing the same thing is completely novel, more evidence that the patent system is indeed broken.
Jawbone's system was a little more like an audio processing tool called a noise gate. From what I've seen, they use a conventional microphone to actually pick up the audio. They then use the little nub that contacts your face to adjust how much of the microphone's audio to pass as input. When you're not talking, the nub on your face picks up no vibrations, so it doesn't let any sound from the microphone through. When you talk quietly, it passes a little sound.

Actual bone conduction microphones have historically not been very good. That's why the military and various high-noise professions use throat mics, even though they aren't terribly comfortable.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
happydude Avatar
79 months ago
Long overdue for water resistance.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

M2 MacBook Pro Much Slower Than Previous Model

Friday July 1, 2022 2:24 am PDT by
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip features a significantly slower SSD compared to the previous model, resulting in poorer performance in some workflows, it has been discovered. Specifically, it has been found that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro....