Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "To shake things Up, Apple may Add Cellular Voice Capabilities to the iPad via a new Wireless headset." Apple's patent revealed they're seriousness in providing the iPhone with a next-gen wireless headset that supports Voice over LTE or VoLTE and better yet, bringing voice calls to the iPad and MacBooks via a wireless headset. Today, Apple continues on that same theme by focusing on improved voice quality in a wireless headset that could be usedfor telephony on Apple's desktops and mobile devices including MacBooks, iPhones and iPads.
Apple's Patent Background
Currently, a number of consumer electronic devices are adapted to receive speech via microphone ports or headsets. While the typical example is a portable telecommunications device (mobile telephone), with the advent of Voice over IP (VoIP), desktop computers, laptop computers and tablet computers may also be used to perform voice communications.
When using these electronic devices, the user also has the option of using the speakerphone mode or a wired headset to receive this speech. However, a common complaint with these hands-free modes of operation is that the speech captured by the microphone port or the headset includes environmental noise such as secondary speakers in the background or other background noises. This environmental noise often renders the user's speech unintelligible and thus, degrades the quality of the voice communication.
Another hands-free option includes wireless headsets to receive user's speech as well as perform playback to the user. However, the current wireless headsets also suffer from environmental noise, battery constraints, and uplink and downlink bandwidth limitations.
Apple Invents Improved Voice Quality in a Wireless Headset
Apple's invention generally relates to a system and method of improving the speech quality in a wireless headset with untethered earbuds of an electronic device (e.g., mobile device) by determining which of the earbuds should transmit the acoustic signal and the inertial sensor output to the mobile device. In one embodiment, the determination is based on at least one of: a noise and wind level captured by the microphones in each earbud, the inertial sensor output from the inertial sensors in each earbud, the battery level of each earbud, and the position of the earbuds.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted above illustrates an example of the wireless headset with untethered earbuds; FIG. 2 illustrates an example of the right side of the headset (e.g., right untethered earbud) used with a consumer electronic device (as noted below); and FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of a system for improving voice quality of a mobile device using a wireless headset with untethered earbuds
Apple's R&D teams have been working on cellular MacBooks for some time now and so today's quality voice wireless headset would be just the right accessory for such a device.
This is a highly technical patent application with 26 patent claims that are steeped in detail. To review the finer details of this sophisticated invention, click here.
Apple credits Sorin Dusan, Baptiste Paquier and Aram Lindahl as the inventors of patent application 20150245129 which was originally filed in Q1 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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