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Apple patent round-up: iPhone speakers, flexible batteries, Waze-like Maps, self-adjusting earphones

Ashleigh Allsopp | July 8, 2013
Several new Apple patent applications have been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today, including improved built-in iPad and iPhone speakers, flexible battery packs, advanced Waze-like Maps app improvements, the ability to restrict touchscreen interaction and self-adjusting earphones.

Plus, in a system reminiscent of crowd-sourced social maps app Waze, user-specified ratings and alerts can be used to determine which route will be quickest to get you to your destination.

"Route determination is improved by accounting for real-world considerations and concerns of travellers," Apple's application explains. "Real-time user-generated alerts allow for faster and more accurate notification of events within proximity of a user that might hinder the user's progress as the user travels."

Restricted touchscreen interactions
The fourth of this week's newly published Apple patent applications allows users, particularly teachers, parents or caregivers, to restrict user interaction with an iPad or iPhone, or other touchscreen device.

So, using this invention, teachers or parents could disable particular icons, buttons, sensors, and more to prevent children from accessing apps or functions that aren't appropriate, or accidentally deleting a file, for example.

Self-adjusting earphones
Also on Thursday, the US Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application covering earphones that can automatically adjust audio output based on the quality of the seal detected by a built-in microphone or by measuring electrical currents, as spotted byApple Insider.

The patent, titled "electronic device and headset with speaker seal evaluation capabilities," describes earbuds that can measure how well they are sealed to the user's ears in order to adjust the audio to provide the optimum listening experience. For example, the volume, balance and equalisation settings may be adjusted, and noise cancellation circuitry settings can be changed.

15 iPhone 5 design patents granted in Hong Kong
Apple has this week been granted15 new iPhone 5 design patents by the Hong Kong IP Office, with a 16th design patent awarded to Apple's EarPods with Remote and Mic.


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