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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

In a patent application filed in November 2007 and released today, Apple reveals that it is researching methods for providing customized audio control for Internet browser content. The research is targeting the inability for a single system volume setting to address multiple simultaneous audio-generating applications, a common inconvenience for computer users. For example, a user may have audio content playing in the background through iTunes and may wish to mute only browser-based audio content coming from websites.
When using a web browser application (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari), audio sources (e.g., websites) will often provide audio signals (e.g., music, noises) which may or may not be welcomed by the user. While operating system desktops often provide audio controls (e.g., volume controls), such audio controls adjust all audio signals playing on the host device, including desirable audio signals such as music the user desires to play from their music library while browsing the Web. Accordingly, if desktop audio controls are used, then desirable audio signals, as well as undesirable audio signals, will be adjusted together which may not be the intent of the user.
The patent application describes a browser-based system for adjusting the volume of Web-generated content and offers a system for remembering the user's preferences for future encounters with the audio content from those sources, identified by URL or domain.


Browser-based audio controls


Sample list of Internet audio sources and user preferences
(The category labeled "Moot" is a misspelling of "Mute".)

The application also describes an implementation of the invention in which the differing preferences can be activated depending on whether audio is already playing on the system. For example, audio from websites could be muted if audio content is currently being played from a media player application such as iTunes, but audible if iTunes was inactive. Another implementation offers a server-based preference system, which would allow user audio preferences to be shared across devices for which such control is desired.

Article Link: Apple Researching Methods to Offer Customized Control of Browser-Based Audio Content

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
Ok, a good start, but now put controls like this in the computer's main preferenece panel to control EVERY program this way.

Safari wouldn't need this built in if the OS did this function itself!

EDIT: Although being able to control different URLs is a nice touch. I DO like this feature, it would still be needed in my fantasy world where the OS does the same thing. So I'm not complaining about Safari...this is a good step.


macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2002
Finally! But I am confused as to why they need to research it.. just put a flippn' volume control in the preferences like iChat has.

spice weasel

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2003
I'm sorry, but I just can't get over the misspelling of mute. How do you submit a patent application with such a glaring error?


macrumors 68000
May 27, 2008
Sioux City, IA
Please add more mixer controls. I'm loving volume on a per application basis in Vista.

YES! This was the one thing i missed when I switched from Vista to OSX. I often times would have some music (Beatles) playing in the background while surfing

Now, I get that interrupted with flash ads, myspace songs... Not to mention my EyeTV viewing would thank Apple.


macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
I've been using my own moot feature for web-based content for years.

It's called "disable plug-ins". ;)


macrumors member
Jan 25, 2007
And that's worth a patent? Why waste human resources on submitting something so obvious.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2007
New York, NY
Presumably they would build this capability into Mobile Me.

Can't wait for browser volume issues to be rendered mute!

I kill me.


macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
Yea this is nice, but how is this PATENTABLE. Jeez.......the things they try to patent these days. :rolleyes:

Also, what's the deal with the PICTURES they submit with the patent. They always look like someone's 10 year old child has drawn them. So this is the best picture they can submit to show the ideas of the patent?



macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2009
I propose jail time for junk patent applications like this. Or could we at least have a class-action suit for wasting taxpayer dollars?


macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
London, UK
And that's worth a patent? Why waste human resources on submitting something so obvious.

It's absolutely ridiculous - it's just a table of URLs / IP addresses and their audio settings. Maybe they could add "block flash" for this site as another column? How about the default view zoom for that site? How about another column to disable javascript on a per-site basis?
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