An Apple patent (number 20110274303) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple may be planning clip-on iPod nano or iPod shuffle with a built-in speaker.
Per the patent, certain embodiments may take the form of an electronic device having a main housing encapsulating operative circuitry for the device. The electronic device includes an attachment member moveably coupled to the metal housing. The attachment member has an acoustical device located therein that is communicatively coupled to the operative circuitry. The inventors are John Benjamin Filson, Eugene Whang and Matthew Rohrbach.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Small form factor electronic devices such as personal digital assistants, cell phones, mobile media devices and so on have become nearly ubiquitous in today's society. Among other functions, they may serve as work tools, communication devices and/or provide entertainment and are commonly carried in a hand, with a clip or in a pocket.
"Generally, the operative parts of electronic devices, such as the processor and memory, are enclosed in housings made of plastic, metal and/or glass that may have an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The housings provide structural integrity to the devices and protect potentially sensitive component parts of the electronic devices from external influences. Sometimes, a smaller form factor device will be more popular or able to demand a higher retail price than a functionally equivalent larger device.
"Certain aspects of embodiments disclosed herein are summarized below. It should be understood that these aspects are presented to provide the reader with a brief summary of certain forms embodiments might take and that these aspects are not intended to limit the scope of any embodiment. Indeed, any embodiment disclosed and/or claimed herein may encompass a variety of aspects that may not be set forth below.
"Certain embodiments may take the form of an electronic device that includes a main housing encapsulating operative circuitry for the device. An attachment member is movably coupled to the main housing. The attachment member may be movably coupled to the main housing in one of a number of different ways, such as a spring loaded hinge, for example. An acoustical device is positioned within a portion of the attachment member. The acoustical device is communicatively coupled to the operative circuitry in the main housing.
"Another embodiment may take the form of an electronic device having a main housing for holding a processor of the electronic device and an attachment clip moveably coupled to the main housing. The attachment clip includes a cavity and an acoustical device located within the cavity of the attachment clip. The acoustical device is communicatively coupled to the processor via a conduit.
"In yet another embodiment, a method of manufacturing a small form factor electronic device may be provided. The method includes milling a main housing and an attachment member. A recessed region is created within the attachment member and an acoustical device is positioned within the recessed region of the attachment member. An adhesive layer may be applied to secure the acoustical device to the clip on one or more sides.
"A cover layer may be attached to the acoustic device with an adhesive layer. In some embodiments, the cover may be attached to the clip. The adhesive is applied so as to not block sound from exiting. The main housing and attachment member are coupled together."
-- Dennis Sellers