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Apple invents movement-based audio output for iPhone that could be set to sync with a user's walking, running, cycling and dance pace


Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a patent application from Apple that relates to  movement-based audio output for electronic devices such as iPhone and more.

Aspects of Apple's patent application can provide audio content that synchronizes to the cadence of a cyclic movement of a user. For example, music can be synchronized (e.g., tempo-match and/or phase-matched) to the cadence of a walking movement, a jogging movement, a running movement, a dancing movement, a cycling movement, a swimming movement, a vacuuming, scrubbing, hammering, sawing, raking, sweeping or other household maintenance, gardening, or construction movement, a gymnastics movement, or any other cyclic movement of user that can be detected by an electronic device (e.g., by a sensor of the electronic device).

For example, a song can be selected and/or modified so that beats of the song are output by a speaker at the same times as footfalls of a walking, running, or cycling user. Modifications to the songs can include tempo modifications and/or phase modifications for matching to the cadence and/or phase of the cyclic movement of the user.

In one or more use cases, an electronic device (e.g., a smartphone, a smart watch, a tablet device, or other portable electronic device that can be worn or carried by a user) transmits audio content to a wireless media output device (e.g., wireless headphones or earbuds, such as Bluetooth headphones or earbuds) for output by a speaker of the wireless media output device. In these use cases, the output of the audio content may be based, at least in part, on a transmission latency (e.g., a Bluetooth latency) between the wireless media output and the electronic device that is transmitting audio content to the wireless media output device. In this way, the electronic device and/or the media output device can compensate for the transmission latency (and/or other algorithmic latencies for performing audio content modifications), to output the audio content in both tempo phase synchronization with the cyclic movement of the user.

Apple's patent FIG. 2 below illustrates an example of an output of audio content with a fixed tempo and an arbitrary fixed phase; FIG. 3 illustrates an example of an output of audio content with an adjusted tempo and an arbitrary fixed phase in accordance with implementations of the subject technology.


Apple's patent FIG. 5 above is a schematic diagram illustrating process for providing movement-based audio output; FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram for an example process for movement-based audio output.

Further to patent FIG. 5, Apple notes that in addition to the peaks #503 that indicate footfalls and footfall times, an iPhone may extract additional characteristics of the user motion from the sensor data #599. For example, the iPhone may determine characteristics such as a footfall contact time (e.g., an amount of time during which the user's foot is in contact with the ground during each footfall) and/or a footfall contact force (e.g., a maximum or average/median force with which the user's foot contacts the ground for each footfall) during a walking, running, dancing or other motion by a user.

As other examples, the electronic device may determine a smoothness factor that indicates a relative smoothness of the cyclic movement of the user (e.g., and that can distinguish between, for example, smooth transitions of a ballet dance and quick and forceful changes in a hip hop dance, even if the ballet dance and the hip hop dance are performed at the same tempo).

In one or more implementations, the iPhone or audio content source #500 may determine (e.g., during content curation 508) a heavy style of music (e.g., rock music, heavy metal music, or rap music) or a light style of music (e.g., pop music or dance music) responsive to identifying the heavy or light footfalls, respectively, and provide a song or a playlist according to that determined style.

To review the full details of this invention, check out patent application 20240161721.

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar