Apple won a series of Design Patents yesterday + an AirPods related patent covering Adaptive Feedback in Acoustic Noise Cancellation
Yesterday the U.S. Patent office granted Apple a series of design patents covering the AirPods Pro case, a new kind of ‘Sign’ that may relate to Apple Store and more. Apple was also granted a patent relating to AirPods with Acoustic Noise Cancellation (ANC).
Unlike "patent applications" that provide the public with an abstract, summary and details of an invention, design patents published around the world are limited to only providing the public with design patent figures. No additional specifics of the design are made available.
Below are four series of patent figures covering granted design patents that were issued to Apple yesterday, June 07, 2022. The first design patent below covers a “Sign.” The patent doesn’t identify if this for the Apple Store or for Store-within-a-Store partners.
The “Cover” sheet for the iPhone SE may have been dropped by Apple since it’s original 2017 filing that was only officially granted yesterday. It would appear that since that time, the cover/protective sheet is now being supplied by Belkin under the description: “Belkin InvisGlass Ultra Screen Protector for iPhone SE.” Below are a series of design patent figures for the AirPods Pro case.
In 2020 Patently Apple posted a design patent report on AirPods Pro Case designs that were filed and registered in Hong Kong. There was a total of 11 designs at that time. The Design Patent covered today was issued yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
While on the topic of AirPods, Apple was granted a patent that relates to both AirPods and AirPods Max.
Adaptive Feedback Processing for Consistent Headphone Acoustic Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Apple notes in their patent background that headphones let their users listen to music and participate in phone calls without disturbing others who are nearby. They are used in both loud and quiet ambient environments. Headphones can have various amounts of passive sound isolation against ambient noise. There may be in-ear rubber tips, on-ear cushions, or around-the-ear cushions, or the sound isolation may be simply due to the against the ear headphone housing loosely blocking the entrance to the ear canal.
An electronic technique known as acoustic noise cancellation, ANC, is used to further reduce the ambient noise that has leaked past the passive isolation. ANC drives a headphone speaker to produce an anti-noise sound wave that is electronically designed to cancel the ambient noise that makes it in the user's ear. But the performance of ANC varies greatly, depending on how the headphone is fitting to the wearers ear.
Apple’s granted patent covers an internal microphone signal of a headphone that is filtered by i) a first filter G that, as part of an acoustic noise cancellation, ANC, subsystem, produces an anti-noise audio signal, and ii) a second filter C to produce a feedback audio signal. An estimate of a transfer function of a path S is determined, wherein the path S is from i) an input of a speaker of the headphone to ii) the internal microphone signal. The second filter C is adapted based on the estimate of the transfer function of the path S drives an input of a speaker of the headphone.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1 below is a block diagram of part of a headphone audio system showing a feedback path; FIG. 6. is a block diagram of part of a headphone audio system having adaptive Feedforward ANC combined with an adaptive feedback path.
For more details, review Apple’s granted patent 11,355,096.