Apple has been criticized for shipping low quality earphones with its iDevices for many years. Apple tried impress the customers with the introduction of EarPods last year that anatomically fit to the geometry of human ear ensuring a good sound quality at a reduced cost. Now, the company has filed a patent for an intelligent earbuds earphone at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
These smart earphones would be able to analyze the level of insulation in user’s ear and adjust the sound accordingly. The patent is called “Electronic device and headset with speaker seal evaluation capabilities” that aims to create a playback system, which would be able to self-regulate the volume and sound quality based on the analysis of multiple factors. According to the patent, earphones would be able to choose the best listening mode and left-right sound balance on the basis of seal level within the ear and the background noise analysis.
The patent explains the usefulness of microphones and sensors to measure the level of insulation inside the ear and then adjust the emission of sound waves by raising or lowering the frequencies. The earphones would also be able to alert users for the imperfect fit, so that they could readjust their positioning within the ear. The patent reads
The quality of the seals that are formed between earbuds and a user’s ears affects performance. For example, satisfactory noise cancellation can become difficult when is high-quality seal is not present. Poor earbud-to-ear seals can also affect audio quality in other ways. For example, left-right balance (volume) and equalization can be affected by seal quality.
As far as the perfect reproduction and isolation from external disturbances is concerned, a prolong use can be harmful to hearing because it doesn’t allow sound pressure to escape from the ear canal.
As usual, we don’t know whether the patent will be really translated into the real product or not. We also don’t have any information on how the new earbud earphones would look like and whether it would be shipped with the new iPhone 5S alike the last year’s EarPods that were introduced with the new iPhone 5.