Apple will unveil the iPhone 6s in less than two weeks that we hope will bring over a slew of improvements, both big and small. But the company is also studying additional technologies that could further improve a user’s iPhone experience that won’t necessarily make it into the next-generation iPhone models.
According go a newly discovered patent application, Apple is studying a new bone conduction technology for wireless headphones that might one day be sold alongside new iPhones.
Published on Tuesday by USPTO, the System and method of improving voice quality in a wireless headset with untethered earbuds of a mobile device patent application was discovered by AppleInsider. The patent describes smart headphones that would rely on complex sound monitoring to deliver a better sound experience to the user focusing on enhancing voice communications. The described system would be able to analyze the voice quality of a user, after accepting it with the built-in microphones, and wirelessly send the best version of it to the mobile device.
Apple’s proposed system would take into account audio information received from internal earbud microphones, including spoken language, noise and wind level. Furthermore, the software would combine that information with accelerometer output, battery level and earbud position data, compare quality and then select the appropriate noise reduction operation for sending the best outgoing sound possible.
The headphones, which would include a variety of microphones, accelerometers and batteries (see image above), would relay the information to an iPhone or another device independently. The system would be able to discern which audio data to use, and, interestingly, it would be able to pick up sound directly through human bone and tissue.
These smart headphones would also be able to tell whether they’re actually inside the user’s ears, and adjust activity accordingly. Since these would be wireless headphones that would rely on battery power to deliver sound, energy considerations are also a factor in how the technology would work.
Apple has yet to announce wireless headphones for the iPhone, and the technology described in the patent doesn’t necessarily mean the company will go ahead and transform it into a commercial product.