According to patent number 20120046780, Apple is working on ways to improve the microphones in its various devices. The invention involves a composite microphone boot has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It relates to consumer electronic devices and more particularly, methods and apparatus for providing microphone capabilities for consumer electronic devices.
A microphone assembly for an electronic device is described. The microphone assembly can include a microphone, a microphone boot and a printed circuit board. The microphone boot can be a composite microphone boot that is formed from multiple materials. A hardness of the each of the materials used in the microphone boot can be selected to improve sealing integrity and reduce shock transmission. In one embodiment, the composite microphone boot can be formed using a double-shot injection molding process. The inventors are Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Phillip M. Hobson, Adam Mittleman and Anna-Katrina Shedlesky.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Many consumer electronic devices provide capabilities for both sound capture and sound generation. For example, portable media players, cellphones, laptop computers, netbook computers and tablet computers often provide capabilities for both sound capture and sound generation. Typically, on these devices, a microphone of some type is used for capturing sound and a speaker of some type is used for generating sound. The microphone and speaker are usually located within an interior of a housing associated with the device.
"In various applications, the sound capture and sound generation capabilities are used alone or in combination with one another. For instance, a sound capture capability, such as a microphone, can be used alone as part of an application to record a voice memo, to record a conversation or to input voice commands. Further, a sound generation capability, such as a speaker, can be used alone as part of an application to output music or to playback a message, such as a voice memo or a phone message. In combination, a sound capture and sound generation capability are often used in communication applications. For instance, during a communication between a user and a remote party on a cellphone that includes a microphone and a speaker, the microphone can be used to capture sounds generated from the user while the speaker can be used to output sound from the remote party delivered to the device via the cellular or data network.
"In a communication application on a consumer electronic device, where a speaker and a microphone are used simultaneously, it is desirable to isolate the microphone from sounds generated by the speaker. In particular, it is desirable to isolate the microphone from sounds that are transmitted from the speaker through an interior of the consumer electronic device. Thus, in the following sections, methods and apparatus for providing microphone sound isolation are described."
Also appearing at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office are:
° Patent number 20120046954 for methods and devices to enable efficient beat-matched, DJ-style crossfading. Aram Lindahl and Richard Michael Powell.
° Patent number 20120046902, involving an electronic motion-based input device and method for correcting errors in acceleration due to a deviation from a horizontal plane of motion by correcting for gravitational acceleration components due to the deviation in the plane of motion. Farshid Moussavi is the inventor.
° Patent number 20120044660 for a button assembly with drive assembly. A process is provided for characterizing a tactile response of a first mechanical actuator (e.g., button) based on a back off distance. The inventors are Benjamin M. Rappoport, Kevin Gibbs, Patrick Kessler, Derek W. Wright and Alex Chun Lap Yeung.