Apple Researching Integrated Speaker for iPod Nano and Shuffle

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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.
In some embodiments, the cavity size may be shaped to create a particular frequency response or to otherwise influence the sound produced by the acoustical element. In some embodiments, the interior surface of the cavity may be modified to increase the size of the cavity, to control the frequency response of the cavity, modify the amount of air displaceable by movement of the diaphragm of the acoustical element, and/or to direct sound waves within the cavity and/or out of the cavity. The shape of the surface may be configured to resonate at a certain desired frequency or frequency range that is desired based on its shape. For example, one or more indentations in the surface may be provided to increase the size of the cavity and/or control the frequency response of the cavity. Generally, the larger the size of the cavity, the lower the frequency that may be resonant within the cavity. In some embodiments, holes may be provided in the surface to adjust the frequency response.
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
 

adrian.oconnor

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2008
326
3
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.
 
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justinfreid

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2009
489
1
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.
 

outz

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2007
437
0
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.
yeah... could be nice. some sort of smart watch w/ bluetooth -> iphone connectivity.
 

hortod1

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2009
283
449
yeah... could be nice. some sort of smart watch w/ bluetooth -> iphone connectivity.
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.
 

paul4339

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2009
1,404
664
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
:eek:



.
 
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840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,179
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Twin Cities Minnesota
The fifth generation nano (with the video camera) already had an internal speaker, didn't it?
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.
 

tigress666

macrumors 68040
Apr 14, 2010
3,288
17
Washington State
The fifth generation nano (with the video camera) already had an internal speaker, didn't it?
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).
 

xraytech

macrumors 68030
Mar 24, 2010
2,518
212
That's great news, cuz I use my Nano as a watch and it would be nice to use it's alarm function.
 

tigress666

macrumors 68040
Apr 14, 2010
3,288
17
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).
 

Darth.Titan

macrumors 68030
Oct 31, 2007
2,734
444
Austin, TX
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
:eek:
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.
 

Twizz91

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2010
97
0
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.
I would get one though :D
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,179
3,441
Twin Cities Minnesota
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.
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.
 

LondonCentral

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2010
304
0
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.
 

Dorje Sylas

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2011
499
330
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.
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.
 

coder12

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2010
512
3
A speaker would be really nice! I can just imagine this accidentally going off in class though whilst being worn as a watch :p
 

iEvolution

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2008
1,432
2
How about bluetooth in the nano first, so people can use wireless headphones?
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.

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.
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.
 

Splen

macrumors newbie
Aug 24, 2010
25
0
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.
I think this must be a UK thing. My heart sank a little when I read it too :(
 
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