Apple Patents Water-Resistant Speaker Port and Bone Conduction Earbuds

by

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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 months ago
Long overdue for water resistance.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...