Apple eyeing iPhone case design with wind noise protection
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Apple eyeing iPhone case design with wind noise protection

An Apple patent (number 20120177239) for a removable case design offering wind noise protection for the iPhone has appeared at the U.S Patent & Trademark Office. It would sport a windscreen over the smartphone's microphone to improve sound quality.

The invention (top graphic) is for a removable case for a mobile communications device includes an opening that aligns with a microphone port that is built into the device. The case includes a windscreen that is sealed across the opening of the case. The windscreen is designed to reduce wind noise, air blasts, vocal plosives, and other noise. Other embodiments are also described and claimed.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Handheld mobile communications devices, particularly mobile phones, have enabled users to engage in real-time two-way conversations while walking, running, riding in a car, or during other activities. In a number of these situations, a user may be conducting a conversation in a noisy environment, such as outside in the wind or inside a moving car with its window down.

"Background noise, e.g., wind noise, can be picked up by the device's microphone and combined with the user's speech. The other party to the conversation constantly hears the background noise and thus may have difficulty understanding the user. As a result, the user often has to raise her voice and literally shout into the device's microphone to be heard.

"Removable cases for mobile phones have been developed for a variety of reasons. Most mobile phone users carry their mobile phone with them wherever they go. Removable cases may have protective features that protect the mobile phone from being damaged when, for example, it is placed in a handbag. They may be designed to allow a user to affix the mobile phone to his person, e.g., a belt clip. The cases may also have aesthetic features, such as an exterior design, that allows a user of the mobile phone to express her personality.

"A removable case for a handheld mobile communications device is described. The removable case includes an opening that aligns with a microphone port that is built into the device. A windscreen is sealed across the opening of the case. The windscreen is designed to reduce wind noise, air blasts, vocal plosives, and other noise. This may enable the speech of a user of the device to remain intelligible despite the presence of such noise during a call, and without requiring the user to shout into the device's microphone.

"The above summary does not include an exhaustive list of all aspects of the present invention. It is contemplated that the invention includes all systems and methods that can be practiced from all suitable combinations of the various aspects summarized above, as well as those disclosed in the Detailed Description below and particularly pointed out in the claims filed with the application. Such combinations have particular advantages not specifically recited in the above summary."

Jae Han Lee is the inventor.

Also, when it comes to mobile devices, Apple has filed for a patent (number 2012017087) for a portable device with a clip having electric terminals (bottom graphic). Apparently with the iPod nano in mind, it would offer a clip that doubles as method for charging/syncing the device.

The invention involves systems and methods are provided for docking a portable user device to a docking device or adapter via a clip mechanism. A portable user device may include two clip members which rotate relative to one another about an axis. A coupling pivot may be coupled to both clip members to facilitate relative rotation, and may provide a clamping force between the clip members. One or more terminals may be located on at least one of the clip members, allowing data transfer, charging, or other functions when the portable user device is docked using the clip mechanism.

The inventors are Jeffery T. Lee and Scott Krueger.

 
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