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Apple developing "active packaging" for iPods and iPhones

post #1 of 85
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Known for thinking outside the box, electronics maker Apple Inc. is now apparently working on an in-the-box concept that could provide power to iPods, iPhones and other electronics devices still inside their retail packaging, allowing them to display demo videos and receive firmware updates while hanging unopened on a shelf in a retail store.

In a new patent filing discovered this week by AppleInsider, the Cupertino-based company notes that traditional packaging for an electronic media devices includes plastic or cardboard containers and boxes that house the electronic media device. The outside of the container or box is typically printed with various labels, advertising, device specifications, and other useful information that allows the consumer to make an informed decision whether or not to purchase the electronic media device.

Meanwhile, the inside of the device packaging is typically designed to securely house the electronic media device, where the main design consideration may be to prevent damage to the device during shipping, storage, or consumer handling. And although this typical packaging for an electronic media device may be designed to adequately protect the device from shock or damage, the packaging is extremely limited in other respects.

"For example, the ability to fully view or interact with the electronic media device while still inside the packaging is severely limited in most packaging designs," Apple says. "In addition, typical packaging designs do not enable the electronic media device or devices housed within the packaging to present content (e.g., media content or advertising) while inside the packaging and without draining battery power. Other functionality, such as firmware or software upgrades, are also typically not available while the electronic media device is housed within the product packaging (e.g., at a retail location). This is primarily due to the inability to provide external power or data to the device while still housed within the packaging."

To solve this problem, Apple proposes what it calls "active packaging," or retail packaging that provides "power, data, or both power and data to one or more electronic media devices housed within the packaging. The power may be provided by a direct power connection to an external power supply or by one or more wireless power techniques. A data signal may be provided by one or more direct data lines to the electronic media device within the packaging, or the electronic media device may enable an integrated wireless network interface to receive a data stream while housed in the packaging."

Such data streams could take the form of promotional information (e.g., advertising) or media content (e.g., digital audio or video content) for presentation on the electronic media device while inside the active packaging, the company explains. The data signal may also include firmware or software updates, bug fixes, or application customizations to be applied to the electronic media device.

Today, most iPods sold by Apple are secured in their retail packaging with help of a plastic of polymer "backing." Therefore, the company suggests these backings could be "printed (or in-molded) with one or more wire traces to supply power, ground, and data to the device. In some embodiments, the wire traces are routed to the appropriate pins or connectors on the electronic media device through the hooks or clasps that hold the device onto the backing."



For example, Apple goes on to say in the filing, "one hook or connecter may interface with a dock connector interface (or other suitable interface) on the electronic media device. The dock connector may include four pins to communicate over a Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. One pin may be included for USB power (e.g., +5 VDC), one pin may be included for USB ground, one pin may be included for USB data (negative differential, for example, -3.3 VDC), and one pin may be included for USB data (positive differential, for example, +3.3 VDC)."

To provide power to the electronic media device or devices housed within the encasing, at least two wire traces may be printed onto or within the encasing or backing. Alternatively, the electronic media device may also be powered via magnetic induction or other wireless power techniques.

"The active packaging may include at least one antenna for receiving an RF signal from an RF power transmitter,"Apple says. "The antenna may be external to the packaging or integrated with the packaging. The RF power transmitter may output an amplified continuous wave (CW) or pulsed RF signal. If a pulsed RF signal is used, each pulse of the pulsed RF signal may exhibit a different amplitude, which may vary over the duration of the pulse. As such, the amplitude may take several shapes over the duration of the pulse including, for example, a straight line, an increasing or decreasing ramp, a square-wave, a sine-wave, or any other suitable shape."



Non-resonant or resonant inductive coupling could also be used to transfer power from an external shared magnetic field to the active packaging, according to the filing. In some embodiments, one active package may be positioned near or stacked upon another active package in order to transfer energy using mutual electromagnetic induction. By this method, one active package may include the primary circuit of a transformer while another active package may include the secondary circuit of the transformer. In this way, multiple active packages may be stacked together (or positioned next to one another, for example, on a peg or product shelf) to transfer power through a chain of active packages, thereby allowing an active package to power the next package via mutual induction.

In other cases, both direct power and electromagnetic induction could be used to power a row or cluster of active packages. In this example, the last active package in the row or cluster (e.g., the package positioned to be picked up last by a purchasing consumer) may be directly powered by an external power source. The other packages in the row or cluster may then be powered by electromagnetic induction, an RF signal from an RF power transmitter, or any combination of the aforementioned power techniques.

In yet another example, Apple says that media devices may also include (or be attached to) at least one position, orientation, or movement (POM) sensor. The POM sensors may include, for example, single-axis or multi-axis accelerometers, angular rate or inertial sensors, linear velocity sensors, RF triangulation detectors, proximity sensors, motions sensors, and ambient light sensors. After the device is powered, one or more of these POM sensors may determine the position or orientation of the electronic media device.

With the location of each device known, pegged or stacked displays in retail stores may be organized on a grid structure with each stack or row of active packages being assigned the same coordinate location value. In grid mode, each stack or row could then be individually addressable using a programmable switch or other suitable device.



"For example, an (x,y) coordinate system may be defined in some embodiments. In addition to sending location information to each electronic media device while in the active packaging, custom media content and advertising for display may also be transmitted to each electronic media device in a stack or row," Apple says. "The electronic media device at the front of each stack or row may continuously display content or only display content when the device detects some threshold level of motion. For example, a POM sensor integrated with or attached to each electronic media device may detect movement or acceleration in one or more directions. After a sufficient movement event is detected (e.g., a consumer handling the active package), the device may automatically display advertising, media content, or a custom message to the consumer. If the active package is picked up and removed from the display unit, the next device in that stack or row may automatically become the active device for that stack or row. The new active device may then automatically begin presenting media content or advertising."

Apple goes on to say that other coordinated or synchronized display effects may also be presented on a set of devices within a display unit. For example, each active electronic media device may periodically synchronize the presentation of media content or advertising with other devices. A synchronization routine executing on each active electronic media device may periodically enable a wireless interface to synchronize each device's internal clock with the internal clocks of all other devices in a display unit.

Alternatively, the internal clock of each device within a display unit may be synchronized with a network time server. A set of the electronic media devices within the same display unit may then be configured to display the same frame or portion of media content or advertising at the same time.

The 40-page filing made last January is credited to Apple employee Michael Rosenblatt.
post #2 of 85
They seriously wrote "Best of Garth Brooks" in a patent application? I'd reject it just for that! haha
post #3 of 85
errr... does it mean that the iPod i'll be getting is already "used" even before i buy and open it?
so the lifespan of the screen and battery will somewhat be shorten even before it's opened.
post #4 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinnian View Post

errr... does it mean that the iPod i'll be getting is already "used" even before i buy and open it?
so the lifespan of the screen and battery will somewhat be shorten even before it's opened.

You wouldn't even notice it considering the shelf life is probably just a couple days until somebody comes in to buy it.
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post #5 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinnian View Post

errr... does it mean that the iPod i'll be getting is already "used" even before i buy and open it?
so the lifespan of the screen and battery will somewhat be shorten even before it's opened.

Unfortunately- YES.
post #6 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinnian View Post

errr... does it mean that the iPod i'll be getting is already "used" even before i buy and open it?
so the lifespan of the screen and battery will somewhat be shorten even before it's opened.

Outside the box-

Reminds me of those cheapo battery operated talking key rings that everybody presses and wears down.
post #7 of 85
Remember when Apple started lying about being "green" and stuff? Yeah, waste more energy, sounds like a good idea to me.
post #8 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Footloose301 View Post

You wouldn't even notice it considering the shelf life is probably just a couple days until somebody comes in to buy it.



you mean steals it.

seriously. those things are too easy to pocket as it is. putting them on the floor for hands to have better access.
post #9 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Remember when Apple started lying about being "green" and stuff? Yeah, waste more energy, sounds like a good idea to me.

Hmmm... maybe the packaging will spontaneously disintegrate and turn into compost.....
post #10 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Outside the box-

Reminds me of those cheapo battery operated talking key rings that everybody presses and wears down.

Actually they are calling out a charging mechanism; pretty slick idea. It is a good idea to make things functional, but I agree that there is a fine line between "active advertising" and "used."
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Remember when Apple started lying about being "green" and stuff? Yeah, waste more energy, sounds like a good idea to me.

Well, Apple wasn't lying about being 'green'.

http://www.thestandard.com/news/2009...t-green-claims
post #12 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by nite41 View Post

Well, Apple wasn't lying about being 'green'.

http://www.thestandard.com/news/2009...t-green-claims

So how does this make the enormous energy-waste this new patent implies any greener?
post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Remember when Apple started lying about being "green" and stuff? Yeah, waste more energy, sounds like a good idea to me.

Remember how great this site was before trolls, oh wait that would be a paradox concerning you.
post #14 of 85
I've got an active package for you (he, he, he, he).......
post #15 of 85
The consumer is just a participant in the iPod's existence. You don't own it, it owns you.
post #16 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Remember how great this site was before trolls, oh wait that would be a paradox concerning you.

Tell me again, what exactly made me a troll here? My use of argumentation (waste of energy)? My citing Apple? My caring for the environment? My distaste of hypocrisy?
post #17 of 85
Sounds like a good idea, but who would want to buy a product that has been operating for while?
Not me for sure. I will consider that used, not new.

If this ever happens, it should be limited to displayed items only. In that case, people will have the option to ask for units not on display.
post #18 of 85
I dont see such a patent to ever work as stated in the patent. This seems like it would only be viable as a vending machine in an area where people are traveling. This way the contents are protected, corralled and can be delivered to the purchaser with a full charge.

However, to make this work there would also need to be a way to get content fast and easily. THe OTA iTS downloads but I think a kiosk system for USB2.0(3.0?) transfers would be much better paired with this patent in a real world use, as there just isnt a point to the point of buying a fully charged iPod Touch at a train station/airport just to lose your battery DLing a movie over there congested WiFi hotspot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

So how does this make the enormous energy-waste this new patent implies any greener?

He never said it did, he was just countering your claim that Apple has fabricated their attempts to go green.
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post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

He never said it did, he was just countering your claim that Apple has fabricated their attempts to go green.

Oh no- you've awoken? Anybody who's ever seen all the glossy mess in the Apple stores knows they've gone green- right?
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don’t see such a patent to ever work as stated in the patent. This seems like it would only be viable as a vending machine in an area where people are traveling. This way the contents are protected, corralled and can be delivered to the purchaser with a full charge.

However, to make this work there would also need to be a way to get content fast and easily. THe OTA iTS downloads but I think a kiosk system for USB2.0(3.0?) transfers would be much better paired with this patent in a real world use, as there just isn’t a point to the point of buying a fully charged iPod Touch at a train station/airport just to lose your battery DLing a movie over there congested WiFi hotspot.




He never said it did, he was just countering your claim that Apple has fabricated their attempts to go green.

Apple itself countered their claim they've gone green. Leaving energy flowing into unused boxed items at all times? Seriously? How is that green? The laptops have improved, granted, but why this mess?

They have the demo-units on at all times, why the boxed items? Whom does that help? Please, anybody a good reason for that?
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Apple itself countered their claim they've gone green. Leaving energy flowing into unused boxed items at all times? Seriously? How is that green? The laptops have improved, granted, but why this mess?

They have the demo-units on at all times, why the boxed items? Whom does that help? Please, anybody a good reason for that?

Well, the boxes are smaller-no? \
post #22 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Apple itself countered their claim they've gone green. Leaving energy flowing into unused boxed items at all times? Seriously? How is that green? The laptops have improved, granted, but why this mess?

They have the demo-units on at all times, why the boxed items? Whom does that help? Please, anybody a good reason for that?

One, it’s a patent. Don’t make some hyperbolic, Teckstudian claim that the paper used to process the patent is bad for the environment. Most patents never come to fruition and the ones that do are almost never presented as they appear. You don’t put your business plan into the patent!

I’ve created a scenario where a pre-powered device would make sense. From your PoV creating anything is bad for the environment so Apple should just close up shop and give the money back to the shareholders to truly be green.

What part of these links are a lie:

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/agreenerapple/
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/environment.html
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post #23 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

From your PoV creating anything is bad for the environment so Apple should just close up shop and give the money back to the shareholders to truly be green.

No, I'm just claiming that using that patent would not do much in terms of PR and waste a lot of energy. Explain to me how I'm wrong please.
post #24 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

From your PoV creating anything is bad for the environment so Apple should just close up shop and give the money back to the shareholders to truly be green.

Glosssy screens are good for the environment yet bad for the eyes. Apple just needs to bring back matte for all their computers like they have in the 17" MBP. Very simple.
post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

No, I'm just claiming that using that patent would not do much in terms of PR and waste a lot of energy. Explain to me how I'm wrong please.

Oh no- here comes the diatribe.
post #26 of 85
Anyone who buys a new iPhone GI, can be located any time. The iPhone GI can be activated by an external source to locate the individual anywhere in the world. With GPS, their exact position can easily be ascertained. Their data can be scanned, in case they are listening to Terrorist podcasts such as Alex Jones, or watching YouTube subversive material!
Yah-go for it! Sounds more like a Steve Balmer idea. Running Ads perpetually.
post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

One, its a patent. Dont make some hyperbolic, Teckstudian claim that the paper used to process the patent is bad for the environment. Most patents never come to fruition and the ones that do are almost never presented as they appear. You dont put your business plan into the patent!

Ive created a scenario where a pre-powered device would make sense. From your PoV creating anything is bad for the environment so Apple should just close up shop and give the money back to the shareholders to truly be green.

What part of these links are a lie:
http://www.apple.com/hotnews/agreenerapple/
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/environment.html

Sorry for calling them liars. They weren't necessarily before. But this patent makes them turn around. That's what I claim. They should not do this, as it's a waste of energy. That's all I wanna say.
post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Oh no- here comes the diatribe.

How's that? I honestly don't wanna fight, I'm curious about how that can be perceived in any way but being a waste of energy? The demo-units show of everything you need, right? Why does anybody need the functionality described in the patent?
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

How's that? I honestly don't wanna fight, I'm curious about how that can be perceived in any way but being a waste of energy? The demo-units show of everything you need, right? Why does anybody need the functionality described in the patent?

Not you- that who you ask. Of course it's a waste of energy! Electricity used on any way, shape or form is. Let's wait to hear the excuse for this one. Even I'm curious how he'll explain it. Solipistic explanations can be quite entertaining at times- like a sword swallower -except substitue foot for sword.
post #30 of 85
Quote:
"The active packaging may include at least one antenna for receiving an RF signal from an RF power transmitter,"Apple says. "The antenna may be external to the packaging or integrated with the packaging. The RF power transmitter may output an amplified continuous wave (CW) or pulsed RF signal.

In other news, Walmart and Apple employees have been reporting 10 times the average rate of cancer."

Quote:
each active electronic media device may periodically synchronize the presentation of media content or advertising with other devices

Wait till someone figures out how to hijack/simulate the signal and dumps porn/their own advertising/virii onto the iPods sitting on the shelves.
post #31 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Sorry for calling them liars. They weren't necessarily before. But this patent makes them turn around. That's what I claim. They should not do this, as it's a waste of energy. That's all I wanna say.

It is a waste of energy, but I bet that vending machine of iPod Touches (my idea above) with only the front device in demo mode, would be considerably less than the giant iPhone display they have in Apple Store windows.

Then there are the Apple Stores themselves with glass windows that aren’t as good for insulating as other materials. And then there is Apple’s excessive use of halogen bulbs instead of the efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, but they don’t help sell product with their unnatural light so they won’t be used.

The fact is, there are plenty of ways in which Apple can reduce their carbon footprint, but their goal right now —for better or for worse— is aimed at reducing the toxins in their products and the size of their packaging. Eventually they will tackle other areas just like other CE companies will move toward making their entire product line as EPEAT complaint as Apple’s*, but that will be awhile.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal as handheld devices do use very little power, especially compared to the huge displays I mentioned above. If you replace a huge display with an area to sell product that is also advertising in real time you can easily argue that you are using less power overall. My biggest issue with this would be getting a product that has gone through a few power cycles before purchase, which is why I feel the vending machine is a more likely solution for this patent. Worrying about a little power use is just making a mountain out of a mole hill without looking at the big picture of where the real power drains are being made by companies.

* Note that there are PC companies that are more EPEAT compliant (aka: greener) than Apple for a model line but not for their entire product line.
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post #32 of 85
Of course, there is always the Micro$ucks way to make packaging.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0
post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It is a waste of energy, but I bet that vending machine of iPod Touches (my idea above) with only the front device in demo mode, would be considerably less than the giant iPhone display they have in Apple Store windows.

Then there are the Apple Stores themselves with glass windows that arent as good for insulating as other materials. And then there is Apples excessive use of halogen bulbs instead of the efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, but they dont help sell product with their unnatural light so they wont be used.

The fact is, there are plenty of ways in which Apple can reduce their carbon footprint, but their goal right now for better or for worse is aimed at reducing the toxins in their products and the size of their packaging. Eventually they will tackle other areas just like other CE companies will move toward making their entire product line as EPEAT complaint as Apples*, but that will be awhile.

In the grand scheme of things, this isnt a big deal as handheld devices do use very little power, especially compared to the huge displays I mentioned above. If you replace a huge display with an area to sell product that is also advertising in real time you can easily argue that you are using less power overall. My biggest issue with this would be getting a product who has gone through a few power cycles before purchase, which is why I feel the vending machine is a more likely solution for this patent.

* Note that there are PC companies that are more EPEAT compliant (aka: greener) than Apple for a model line but not for their entire product line.

S##t, couldn't they just commit to saying they'll use solar energy for that? Put solar panels on every store? THAT would be PR.
post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Not you- that who you ask. Of course it's a waste of energy! Electricity used on any way, shape or form is. Let's wait to hear the excuse for this one. Even I'm curious how he'll explain it. Solipistic explanations can be quite entertaining at times- like a sword swallower -except substitue foot for sword.

Shush you, let Mr. Gore speak.

Hey Al I do have a question, it's concerning how green you are and yet you had $40k in electric bills A MONTH at your mansion.

p.s. sorry about the election but well the popular vote doesn't really mean much.
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

S##t, couldn't they just commit to saying they'll use solar energy for that? Put solar panels on every store? THAT would be PR.

It would be, but is solar power cost effective yet? For all we know this patent could be utilized to be powered off a solar grid. There is no mention either way. Maybe it runs off the bottled screams of tortured baby seals. It’s not like a bunch of handheld devices are going to a be a major draw
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post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Tell me again, what exactly made me a troll here? My use of argumentation (waste of energy)? My citing Apple? My caring for the environment? My distaste of hypocrisy?

You have no idea how green apple is now
or you would not have spoke so out of turn.
whats in a name ? 
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post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Remember how great this site was before trolls, oh wait that would be a paradox concerning you.

haha +1

donsqueak clearly has some emotional issues that he's avoiding by trying to make everyone else miserable with his "green" whining. get a life buddy.

you know how much of a difference to the environment it would make if apple had their products run active displays in their stores? NONE! if you want to do something for the environment go buy some rainforrest (http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx). the only thing this latest environmental movement has achieved is to manipulate a bunch of predictable people into a sense of self-righteous empowerment.

if anyone is interested:
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.c...0-274616db87e6
post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Sorry for calling them liars. They weren't necessarily before. But this patent makes them turn around. That's what I claim. They should not do this, as it's a waste of energy. That's all I wanna say.

You’re falling into the all-or-nothing, black-or-white of Teckstudian logic.

1) They aren’t liars if the claims they made are true. According to the links above they are doing what they stated in removing toxic chemcials, reducing packing and using recyclable materials. Expecting a company to go completely green is ridiculous, excessive and impossible. You never even mentioned Apple already having every single Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and 3rd-party accessory on display being powered up all day, every day, in every Apple Store. How many charging iPod Touches would it take to equal the power use of a single Mac Pro and 30” ACD on display at an Apple Store?

2) This is just just patent. Again, you are jumping to conclusion. It states nothing about the power source. It states nothing about what power could be saved by utilizing this method.

You jumped to and erroneous an absolute conclusion based on zero evidence and a false understanding of what Apple means by going green with their product line while screaming foul in the vein of Teckstud. That is why someone mentioned troll earlier (which i don’t agree with, BTW).
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post #39 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwfrederick View Post

haha +1

donsqueak clearly has some emotional issues that he's avoiding by trying to make everyone else miserable with his "green" whining. get a life buddy.

you know how much of a difference to the environment it would make if apple had their products run active displays in their stores? NONE! if you want to do something for the environment go buy some rainforrest (http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx). the only thing this latest environmental movement has achieved is to manipulate a bunch of predictable people into a sense of self-righteous empowerment.

if anyone is interested:
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.c...0-274616db87e6

Shouldn't respond to insults. Will not say anything more.
post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonSqueak View Post

Shouldn't respond to insults. Will not say anything more.

hahaha, way to take the high-road
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