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Apple investigates media playing headset, shoe wear-out sensor

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
A string of new patent applications have revealed potentially unique products from Apple, including a MP3 playing headset and a sensor that would detect when a shoe needs to be replaced.

Headset with integrated MP3 player

Apple's concept for a new MP3 player would combine a Bluetooth headset for use with a cell phone, but include a separate, standalone MP3 player. Such an idea, the company's patent application reads, would save battery life on the cell phone and have media played exclusively through the headset.

"When used with mobile telephones, such headsets are frequently worn continually by their users, even when not engaged in telephone calls, because it is too inconvenient to have to reinsert the headset in one's ear each time a call comes in, while the phone is ringing and before the caller gives up and disconnects," the application reads. "Therefore, such headsets may be idle most of the time that they are being worn."

The new hardware would solve this issue by adding functionality to the wireless headset, allowing it to be used as a media player while calls are not being made. The hardware would include a wireless headset, a receiver that would accept audio signals from an external device, internal memory for storing media files, and accompanying circuitry to play back those media files.

Recording also plays a part in the described device. The wireless headset would be able to record all or part of a conversation that takes place when the hardware is used with an external cell phone or landline. In addition, voicemail messages on the phone could be transferred to the headset for playback when not connected.

The hardware is shown in two forms: One much like a traditional Bluetooth headset that uses only one ear, and another model that covers both ears and provides music in stereo. The patent application was filed on April 29, 2008.



Shoe sole wear-out sensor

Also revealed this week was a patent application for a sort of e-shoe from Apple. The described device would include a detector sensing whether the sole of a shoe has been worn out, and then notify the user.

"Shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet. More importantly, shoes provide physical support for feet to reduce risk of foot injuries," the application reads. "A shoe is often necessary to provide support during intense physical activity, such as running, soccer and American football. As a shoe wears, physical support provided by the shoe decreases, thereby reducing associated protection from injury. When a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet."

While the described system would primarily keep track of the physical condition of the shoe and whether it needs to be replaced, it would also include elements to track motion and activity over time. Using an accelerometer and force sensing resistor, a "use accumulator" would help determine how much wear and tear the shoe received over time.

Such a shoe could include an LED light and an audible device that would be used to indicate when the shoe is worn out. The patent application was originally filed on April 16, 2008.
post #2 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Shoe sole wear-out sensor

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?
post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

So that Steve Jobs knows when he needs to pop by his nearest New Balance stockist.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Such a shoe could include an LED light and an audible device that would be used to indicate when the shoe is worn out. The patent application was originally filed on April 16, 2008.

Splendid - I've always thought that waiting until my feet were wet was too basic!
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by womble2k2 View Post

So that Steve Jobs knows when he needs to pop by his nearest New Balance stockist.

He probably wears a brand new pair every day.
post #6 of 47
Sounds like they are working on building Nike+ Sensors into shoes, and this is just a byproduct.

As a Nike+ user this is good news!
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post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Probably because Nike have a userbase who would actually obey a pair of shoes...
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post #8 of 47
A shuffle integrated into a pair of headphones wouldn't be a bad idea.
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Because there's no business like shoe business.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Maybe Apple wants to corner the market on clothing that talking with your other electronics. Shoelaces that send you a Push Notification that they have come untied. Hats that inform you that it has started to rain if it feels consolidated moisture after it confirms with a weather DB by your GPS location has a chance for rain. Ties that let you know you got mustard on them and change colours to camouflage the unfortunate stain. Underwear garments that monitor your body daily and give you a graph of your health over time, even suggesting increases or decreases in certain foods and supplements.
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post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by oseame View Post

Probably because Nike have a userbase who would actually obey a pair of shoes...

LOL. I thought that was only true of Sprite drinkers, but now that you mention it....
post #12 of 47
Quick, somebody buy the domain name "iShoe.com" ASAP!
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelt View Post

Because there's no business like shoe business.

Congratulations - that is officially the most cheesy joke I've ever heard!
post #14 of 47
Let's see.... Apple has Mac Pros, iMacs, iPods, iPhones and..... shoes.

What is this obsession with shoes?
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Congratulations - that is officially the most cheesy joke I've ever heard!

Don't know if that's good or bad, but I guess if the shoe fits...
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Because patents are valuable for licensing. Nike or Adidas (or any one of a thousand other shoe manufacturers) might find value in this patent in the future and in case anyone hasn't noticed, there are billions of shoes in this world. It's a smart reconcepting of the tire wear sensor used in high end vehicles.

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post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelt View Post

Because there's no business like shoe business.

Ding! Best answer so far.

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post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Underwear garments that monitor your body daily and give you a graph of your health over time, even suggesting increases or decreases in certain foods and supplements.

Beep, you should cut down on the quesadillas and you have been wearing me for two weeks, beep.
post #19 of 47
There must be a typo in the filing date. It reads April 16 2008. I am certain it should be reading April 1 2008.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelt View Post

Because there's no business like shoe business.

Technology brought to YOU(Young Out-there-to-be-ripped-off User) by the AFFP (The American Federation of Footwear Pedlars). Beep! Your shoe may LOOK fine but it really isn't. Please REPLACE NOW! Beep!
post #21 of 47
Maybe it's to prevent Steve's wife from going "Imelda Marcos" on him?
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post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Maybe Apple wants to corner the market on clothing that talking with your other electronics. Shoelaces that send you a Push Notification that they have come untied. Hats that inform you that it has started to rain if it feels consolidated moisture after it confirms with a weather DB by your GPS location has a chance for rain. Ties that let you know you got mustard on them and change colours to camouflage the unfortunate stain. Underwear garments that monitor your body daily and give you a graph of your health over time, even suggesting increases or decreases in certain foods and supplements.

post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Such a shoe could include an LED light and an audible device that would be used to indicate when the shoe is worn out.

So put an LED, a speaker, a battery and chip with some logic and sensors to use one single time?

May it beeps once when the shoes are first "worn out" then the following week it beeps every morning and after that, every step you take, fart sounds eminate from the audible device. Finally, a useful application for all the fart apps!

With the sensor, the iPod./MP3 player senses your cadence then matches songs with the same bpm to keep you on track.
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post #24 of 47
This could maybe fly as a shuffle upgrade.
(Shuffle with BT antenna + earphones w/clicker and mic)
Essentially giving non-iPhone owners the clicker-based phone/music interface of the iphone.
post #25 of 47
Maybe Apple is considering integrating the iPhone with a shoe? I mean, how cool would it be to have a shoe phone.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Maybe Apple is considering integrating the iPhone with a shoe? I mean, how cool would it be to have a shoe phone.

How very James Bond of you.
post #27 of 47
I want Facebook integration for my shoes.


Nagromme’s right shoe has reached 50% wear. [ Add Comment ]


How awesome would that be?I?

I also want the gigantic dingo ears that would be needed to comfortably wear that headset in the pic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

How very James Bond of you.

Smart!
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Yeah, this is just bizarre for Apple to be working on. I'd rather they make sun glasses with a built-in media player than tell me when my shoes are worn.

What ever happened with Apple's rumored design work with VW?
post #29 of 47
It looks like Apple is targeting cell phones other than the iPhone with this patent application.

Or is it possible that their existing bluetooth stereo headset (at the time) worked so poorly with the iPhone's music player that they needed another approach to (and more income opportunities for) being able to listen to music in between bluetooth connected iPhone calls?

Seriously, though, with the recent influx of laws governing what you can do with your phone while driving, including restrictions on having both ears covered or plugged, I doubt this device will be usable where it may be most needed.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

A shuffle integrated into a pair of headphones wouldn't be a bad idea.

Okay... while most are thinking about the shoe sensor since it is clearly the more shall we say 'unique' of the two ideas... My first though was about the cellular headset doing double duty as an mp3 player.

Apple states

Quote:
Therefore, such headsets may be idle most of the time that they are being worn. The new hardware would solve this issue by adding functionality

Somehow Apple thinks it's a PROBLEM that the headset goes unused for long periods of time but I'm not convinced. I'm far from an expert when it comes to people habits with regard to charging their devices but... If my wife is any indication then it goes something like this, the cell phone gets charged on a fairly regular basis while the wireless BT handsfree devices can go a week or more before it requires charging. She's not a heavy user of the headset BTW.

Now if you start using the BT headset 'all the time' then you'd likely be charging that sucker incessantly since the batteries in most of those tiny device just aren't big enough to offer the ability to run for very long periods of uninterrupted use.

Yes, battery tech is getting better all the time and energy efficiency is being bettered all the time so maybe it'll be a non-issue in the future, but today there's a really good reason why people don't use BT enabled headsets for playing music.
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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

A shuffle integrated into a pair of headphones wouldn't be a bad idea.


There are cordless headphones with shuffle dock connectors already, with the added bonus that if and when your headphones deteriorate or get ruined by water/dirt etc, you can simply move the shuffle to another cordless headphone. Or if your needs change, like your using the shuffle with your portable stereo instead of the headphones, you don't need to buy another device.

Sounds like Apple might produce these combination Shuffle/Headphones/Bluetooth, seems there is a market for it.

The bonus of course is if you get a phone call, the music stops playing and resumes after the call is finished.

Apple sells lousy quality headphones though so I expect this to transfer over to the new device. But then Apple has the option of first sale, people in the stores and all.

I was kind of hoping that optical output would make it's way to the higher end iPod products, running optical to my 7.1 from my MBP produces superior sound quality, you can't easily ween yourself off of it.
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post #32 of 47
A phone headset with two earplugs and a band connecting them would probably be unpopular - too silly/geeky looking and nobody wants to listen to music in one ear. Nice idea, but it doesn't fly design esthetics wise.
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Maybe Apple is considering integrating the iPhone with a shoe? I mean, how cool would it be to have a shoe phone.

"Agent 86 calling Agent 99!"
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

How very James Bond of you.

No. Much more like Maxwell Smart.
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post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by justflybob View Post

Maybe it's to prevent Steve's wife from going "Imelda Marcos" on him?

Dang! I keep forgetting the probable age of the audience here.

Imelda Marcos was once the dictatorial "First Lady" of the Philippines, who had a MAJOR shoe fetish. She was known to have owned several thousand pairs of expensive shoes.

Like she would ever NEED a shoe wear sensor. [sigh]

I guess jokes aren't really jokes at all if you gots to stop and explain 'em.

(She also spent a day on my CH-46 during a typhoon relief mission in the summer of 1972, but that's another story entirely. For her, it was just another cheesy photo op. For "her people", it was just another day of trying to stay alive.)
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post #36 of 47
oh brother
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by justflybob View Post

Dang! I keep forgetting the probable age of the audience here.

Imelda Marcos was once the dictatorial "First Lady" of the Philippines, who had a MAJOR shoe fetish. She was known to have owned several thousand pairs of expensive shoes.

Like she would ever NEED a shoe wear sensor. [sigh]
)

I know a guy who met her. He said that he shook her hand and, even though he didn't mean to, he looked down at her shoes. Ya just GOTTA, don't you?
post #38 of 47
How Funny,

A few of us were working on the issue of how to tell when a shoe needs replacing at OneEyeDeer

I reckon our ideas are better than apple's, but i may be biased...

http://www.oneeyedeer.com/issue/how-...rs-are-no-good
post #39 of 47
Every step you take, every move you make...I'll be watching you!
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

I'm sorry, but why in the world would Apple be doing this?

Jobs was watching an old Get Smart episode and started thinking about phones and shoes?
[I see a few other posters were already thinking along these lines. Sorry about that, Chief.]
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