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
87 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
87 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
87 months ago
Long overdue for water resistance.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
Hero0013

Best Apple Deals of the Week: 2021 MacBook Pro Gets Massive $500 Markdowns as Samsung Discounts TVs and Memory Accessories

Friday January 27, 2023 11:07 am PST by
As we near the end of January, this week we saw a collection of deals on Apple's iPad Pro, iMac, and the 2021 MacBook Pro. Additionally, we're tracking new sales on TVs and memory accessories from Samsung. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Samsung...