A new Apple patent (number 20120250914) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is working on hybrid wireless headphones designed with athletes and very active folks in mind.
The described embodiments relate to a listening device that allows an end user to comfortably listen to an audio output of a portable media player. In particular, the listening device can be easily worn without inconveniencing the end user during physical activity.
Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "In one embodiment, a media apparatus is described. The media apparatus includes at least one listening device, a corded portion in communication with a host device arranged to provide an audio signal, and a detachable connector having a first part and a second part. In the described embodiment, the detachable connector is arranged to detachably couple the at least one listening device at the first part to the corded portion at the second part.
"When the listening device is attached to the corded portion by way of the detachable connector, the listening device receives at least the audio signal from the host device by way of the corded portion and when the listening device is detached from the corded portion, a wireless signal that includes the audio signal is transmitted from the second part of the corded portion for reception at the first part of the listening device.
"In one aspect of the described embodiment, the corded portion acts as an RF antenna arranged to receive an RF signal transmitted from an external RF transmitter and passes the received RF signal to the host device for processing. Furthermore, when the host device is receiving power from an external power supply, the corded portion passes power directly from the host device to the listening device by way of the detachable connector.
"In another embodiment, a portable media device is disclosed. The portable media device includes at least a processor, a data store arranged to retain at least a media item, the processor arranged to process the media item to form an audio signal, a data port arranged to receive a cord and arranged to at least output the audio signal to the cord, a wireless transmission module arranged to condition the audio signal in accordance with a wireless transmission protocol, and an attachment detector, the attachment detector arranged to detect if the cord is attached to a listening device arranged to present an audible output of the audio signal. When the attachment detector detects that the cord is not attached to the listening device, the processor instructs the transmission module to condition the audio signal in accordance with the wireless protocol and wirelessly transmit the conditioned audio signal.
"In still another embodiment, a method performed by a processor in a portable media player arranged to process and store at least a media asset is described. The method can be performed by processing the media asset by the processor, generating an audio signal as a result of processing the media asset and receiving a connection status from an attachment detector. When the connection status indicates that the portable media player is not connected to a listening device, then instructing a wireless transmission module to condition the audio signal in accordance with a wireless transmission protocol, and wirelessly transmitting the conditioned signal to the listening device by way of a corded portion.
"In yet another embodiment, non-transitory computer readable medium for storing a computer program executed by a processor in a portable media player arranged to process and store at least a media asset is described. The computer readable medium including at least computer code for processing the media asset by the processor to form an audio signal, computer code for receiving a connection status from an attachment detector, computer code for instructing a wireless transmission module to condition the audio signal in accordance with a wireless transmission protocol by the processor when the connection status indicates that a corded portion attached to the portable media player is not connected to a listening device and computer code for using the corded portion to wirelessly transmit the conditioned signal."
Jorge S. Fino is the inventor.
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