Thursday, November 10, 2011

Apple files patent for a tie-clip iPhone loudspeaker

Remember the first iteration of the diminutive iPod Shuffle, which attached like a tie pin to your clothing? Now Apple is patenting a similarly sized clip-on device - but rather than being a solid-state media player this one is a small piezoelectric loudspeaker for plugging into iPods, iPhones and iPads. 
While a number of third party suppliers make clunkier add-on loudspeakers for iDevices, one aim of Apple's US patent application, which was filed today, is to provide an on-the-move sound source with an "aesthetically-pleasing appearance".
What's actually being patented here is not the piezoelectric speaker, however - because that's not a new idea. (Piezoelectric crystals like lead zirconate titanate, PZT, vibrate when a voltage is applied across them - and this is used to generate sound.) Rather, Apple is claiming novelty in the way the speaker and its drive electronics are housed and connected in both sides of the spring-loaded clip mechanism. 
I guess this could be useful when you want better sound than, say, the built-in iPhone speaker on its own can deliver but don't have access to an iPod dock. Of course such a mobile loudspeaker could also prove pretty irritating for anyone nearby, too.
Either way, Apple never comments on patents (out of court, at least), so there's no saying when, or if, this gadget will ever see the light of day.

No comments:

Post a Comment