Apple patent applications show earbud designs that use sensors to make automatic adjustments

Apple patent applications show earbud designs that use sensors to make automatic adjustments
No sooner does Apple purchase high-end headphone manufacturer Beats Audio, than a couple of patent applications made by the tech giant related to earbuds are released by the USPTO. The two patents, titled "Ear Presence Detection in Noise Cancelling Earphones" and "Electronic Devices and Accessories with Media Streaming Control Features," revolve around earbuds that use sensors to turn features on and off automatically.

With noise-cancelling technology a major gobbler of battery life, the first patent shows how the technology can be turned off if the sensors inside the earbuds determine that they have been removed from the user's ears. This would require the use of the accelerometer, capacitive touch sensors, ultrasonic sensors, acoustic sensors and touch sensors. Last month, Apple detailed in a patent application how an accelerometer and a pair of microphones, placed inside a set of earbuds, could help block out ambient noise that prevents voice recognition technology from working.

The second patent is similar in that it deals with sensors being able to determine if earbuds have been removed from someone's ears. But  this patent details how streaming music could be halted when the earbuds have been removed, and resume playing when the buds are re-inserted into the user's ears. This patent is described as a "win-win" for everyone. The device owner isn't charged with the data used to play a song that he isn't listening to, and the battery life needed to stream a song is saved until someone is actually listening. The carrier, which usually pays for each song streamed from a third party app, also saves money.

Both patents were originally filed with the USPTO in November 2012. The first patent application is credited to Nicholas A. Rundle, while the second gives credit to Alessandro Pelosi. Both applications have been assigned to Apple.

source: USPTO (1), USPTO (2) via AppleInsider



1. sgodsell

Posts: 7519; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Sony already has ear buds that have noise canceling mics on them. You get them when you buy a Z2. But I can see they are going beyond by using an accelerometer and checking to see if the user is still wearing them.

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Not sure if they still make them, but Sony made ear buds which automatically play when you put them in and automatically pause when you take them out

3. aditya.g0110

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Apple just patents everything but doesn't release it to the markets,and the only thing it does is SUE

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple had big plans for Beats, this could persuade me into trying them for the first time. My son has the wireless ones, and loves em.

5. Sauce unregistered

If I can make a suggestion / persuade you, please go buy SoL Republics HD. Best quality you get for your money. Virtually indestructible physical design, amazing sound, overall outstanding.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011


16. Sauce unregistered

No bro. I got my HDs for $80.00 at Target when they went on sale. The Michael Phelps edition was going out of stock so they cut the price. You can get them at regular price for like $130ish - 150, depending where you shop. I guarantee you'll love them. If you want "over the ear" headphones, they have those also. They're called the Master Tracks. They also have wireless.

6. Sauce unregistered

To all you haters: Apple had always been making quality performance earbuds.

7. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012


11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple is beastin bro, this is why haters flood the articles.

13. superfans

Posts: 155; Member since: Jul 30, 2012

Not sure about performance but its comfortable for sure, i never really like in ear earphone thats y i prefer apple's earbuds.

17. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

New Apple earpods are vast improvement over the old earbuds which sounds cold, flat, harsh and ill-fitted to my ears. The new earpods are definitely better, the design was more ergonomic had a better comfort (still pain to listen too after a periods of time), had more bass impact (The bass bleeds into the mids and makes it sound a little muddy). I think it will please a young non-audiophile customers.

18. Sauce unregistered

Well said man

8. express77 unregistered

Be ready for another lawsuit.

9. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Yet again apple playing for keeps

12. sanchis

Posts: 1; Member since: May 29, 2014

its totally anoying totalt my idea i filled a patent by nokia i will case if they release any this for infrings , i can prove i have every thing that i have a power to smash this headphone ... too much angry

14. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

seems interesting enough I suppose, a small convenience thing. As long as they don't begin suing people that already have similar stuff, noise cancel and such, in fact I think there already is something like this though if it is accel. meter I don't know, I think it might be something else, we will see.

15. Looser99

Posts: 62; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

My God ! Totally overkill. I am now wondering what the price tag of iphones will look like when these earphones are gonna be included with the phone packaging and literally LoLing :D

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.