Apple Researching Integrated Speaker for iPod Nano and Shuffle

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.


    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.
    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.

    Article Link: Apple Researching Integrated Speaker for iPod Nano and Shuffle
  2. adrian.oconnor, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011

    adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Nottingham, England
    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.
  3. justinfreid macrumors 6502


    Nov 24, 2009
    NEW Jersey / USA
    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.
  4. outz macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2007
    yeah... could be nice. some sort of smart watch w/ bluetooth -> iphone connectivity.
  5. hortod1 macrumors regular


    Jan 26, 2009
    Agreed. The only reason I haven't purchased one is because of lack of Bluetooth. Wireless headphones are awesome when running or at the gym.
  6. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    The fifth generation nano (with the video camera) already had an internal speaker, didn't it?
  7. Roessnakhan macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    How about bluetooth in the nano first, so people can use wireless headphones?
  8. paul4339, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011

    paul4339 macrumors 65816

    Sep 14, 2009
    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

  9. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Electrostatic speakers? They are hardly low end!
  10. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Yep it does. I use mine daily, super handy when checking on voice memos or video recordings quickly. Also comes in handy for spoken podcasts when in transit from the car to an other location without headphones.
  11. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
  12. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Yeah, I never used it except to tell I accidentally put it on play when I didn't mean to.

    I mean it was not even moderately loud (and could you expect it to be?).

    Honestly, I personally loved the 6th gen cause it brought an even nicer form for walking/excercising/riding my motorcycle and got rid of everything that was a novelty in something that small but I didn't use.

    Though personally, the 3rd gen if it stored more info was really good too mainly cause it really did have a 24 hour battery life (The fifth gen was definitely worse and the 6th gen is ok if you are using headphones but the battery gets sucked out if I use my speakers in my motorcycle helmet. 3rd gen on the same helmet lasted me a whole weekend of riding without charging it once). If they could put more storage in the 3rd gen I'd trade the 6th gen's form for the 3rd gen's battery.

    3rd gen also had a really good form (fit in pockets better than the stick form of the fifth gen. Plus being wider it had a bigger wheel which was nicer to use than the tiny wheel on the fifth gen that it was hard to just move up and down one menu.. you usually ended up missing the menu if it was just one down or up).
  13. justinfreid macrumors 6502


    Nov 24, 2009
    NEW Jersey / USA
    Exactly, hoping the Bluetooth 4 in the 4S opens the door to that.
  14. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    That's great news, cuz I use my Nano as a watch and it would be nice to use it's alarm function.
  15. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Also, for those people wanting bluetooth, you better hope they much better improve the nano's battery.

    For very small power draws it does last a long time, but it seems any tiny increase in power draw really affects battery (on headphones it does last hours and hours. But just put it to my helmet's speakers, which really don't get that loud as they don't need to since they are in my helmet and right next to my hears, the battery gets sucked out in 2 hours or less, especially if it is cold). And I know it's not mine, I already returned and replaced it once and it maybe was a little better the 2nd time around (and then I just figured it was a design issue).

    I'd hope they better the battery before they even put an external speaker in it (That will really suck its battery too).

    So yeah, the nano as is is not ready for bluetooth or external speakers or anything that draws more than just a small amount of power. Until they find a way to get a better battery in that small space (I think they can claim 24 hours cause with headphones the thing doesn't need much power at all.. it's not that the battery is good, it's just that it doesn't need much power. put something on it that needs power and that battery will be drained like that).
  16. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    No. Siri would also need an internet connection and a lot more processing power and RAM than a Nano has to offer, not to mention a more significant battery to make these things feasible.

    Not even close to possible with today's tech at that size.
  17. Twizz91 macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2010
    I would get one though :D
  18. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I agree with everything but your last sentence. The Tech exists, it just would be difficult to make a cost effective in a device of this size. In a year or two, that may change though.
  19. LondonCentral macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    Not really bothered by this but I'm hardly the target market. I'm sure Apple will sell crap loads though, which suits me fine.
  20. Dorje Sylas macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2011
    Change the paradigm perception. Throw a higher quality microphone and Bluetooth(or similar) in there, your Nano/Shuffle is now your clip based connection to your iPhone or iPad (3G Enabled) for Siri related functions. Tap and hold on the Nano or press and hold play/pause... *ding ding*

    Me: Where is the next bar?
    Siri: No. You are already drunk. I am calling a cab. Stay put.

    Don't have to fumble getting the iPhone out of my pocket in a sloshed stupor.
  21. coder12 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2010
    A speaker would be really nice! I can just imagine this accidentally going off in class though whilst being worn as a watch :p
  22. iEvolution macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    Would be nice but
    a) the battery would need some serious improvement.
    b) the current blue tooth head phone selection sucks, anyone looking for some quality sound certainly wouldn't find blue tooth headphones appealing.

    There are blue tooth adapters out for the nano by the way and from what I understand they really beat the crap out of battery life.

    I'm really surprised that wireless headphones and blue tooth in audio devices haven't been pushed, I mean the cords can be so cumbersome.

    LOL as if the speaker could even be powerful enough to disturb others, only way it could disturb others is if you use it at the library. 98% would prefer having headphones anyway. In all honesty the speaker is probably intended for the clock rather than music.

    Anyway its good to see some rumors about the iPods considering they didn't do anything with them this year. Then again the nano w/camera pictures floating around never materialized.
  23. Blakjack macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2009
    I'mwatch and Motorola new watch came to mind when I read this
  24. Splen macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2010
    I think this must be a UK thing. My heart sank a little when I read it too :(
  25. thedoctor macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2006
    Yes, something similar to this would be good but linked to an iphone.

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