Apple Files Two New iPhone-Related Patents

Two new Apple patent filings have recently been published that could possibly be incorporated into the next generation iPhone. The first is an audio jack cleaning adaptor for portable electronic devices. Two different methods of cleaning would both essentially force compressed air through a conduit and hollow channels in the plug to displace lint and debris that have accumulated in the jack.

apple patent diagram

According to Apple, "A consumer could place the adaptor plug in the jack, couple the conduit to the plug, and then apply compressed air through the conduit to clean the jack." Although this sounds perfectly functional, the second patent may actually be more useful on a day-to-day basis.

The idea is simple but elegant, in classic Apple style. Similar to the automatic brightness sensor on the current iPhone, Apple is proposing an audio sensor that would adjust sound output based on ambient noise. Apple states, "For instance, a user who adjusts the volume of a mobile phone ring tone for a loud environment may later move to a quieter environment, where the loud ring will be disruptive."

"Alternatively, a volume level which is optimized for a quiet environment may not be detectable if the associated device is moved to a louder environment." The patent involves an audio sensor to detect the level of noise in the area. Built in systems would then adjust the audio output level of the speakers on the device to compensate for the level of noise. Pretty soon our iPhones may be more aware of the environment surrounding them than we are.


And guess who owns the ambient brightness patent? That would be Palm, not Apple:,268,775

I hope the audio sensor works in conjunction with the proximity sensor! Otherwise, if you throw your phone in a bag which shields it from surrounding noise, the phone may detect being in a quieter environment, turn the ringer down, and then you're basically guaranteed not to hear the phone. I'm fairly confident Apple has thought of that though. :)