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Apple says ambient sensors could improve mobile video experience

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
If sudden background noise from busy environments has ever marred your mobile video viewing experience, Apple feels your pain and appears to be working on a solution to help mitigate the problem so you don't miss a thing.

In a new patent application published for the first time Thursday, the Cupertino-based mobile device maker proposes that future iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad employ ambient noise sensors that trigger the display of subtitles or closed captions once a certain level of ambient noise becomes present in your environment.

The technology is similar to the ambient light sensors already deployed on a wide range of Apple products, which help adjust display brightness on Macs and iOS handheld devices, while also serving to black out the iPhone's screen when it's being held up to your ear.

One example accompanying the filing illustrates a video played in full screen mode on an iPhone, including an overlying and partially transparent option sheet for subtitles that can include options for color, fonts and styles for the subtitles in addition to language.

"For example, the user can select an option to show the subtitles in a frame surround the video (e.g., letterbox mode) or overlying the video (e.g., full screen mode)," the company wrote. "In some implementations, other display elements presenting additional options may not fit on the screen. In such implementations, the viewer can scroll the sheet using touch gestures so that the hidden display elements can be viewed and accessed by the viewer."

In addition to persistent noise sampling, Apple said audio fingerprints of ambient noise for various environments could also be stored in the mobile device or on a network accessible by the mobile device, which could then trigger different actions for different environments.



"Thus, the mobile device can identify its local environment by sampling ambient noise present in the local environment, computing an audio fingerprint from the sampled audio noise, comparing the audio fingerprint with reference audio fingerprints stored in a database to find a match, and thus identify a type of ambient noise or environment," the filing says.

"For example, there can be a different volume adjustment factor associated with each reference audio fingerprint. One environment may be more noisy than another environment. These differences in ambient noise would be captured by two different audio fingerprints. In a first environment (e.g., a gym), the ambient noise could be very loud and would require a large increase in volume or an invocation of subtitles. In a second environment (e.g., a shopping mall), the ambient noise could be less than the first environment and would require a lesser increase in volume and possible not an invocation of subtitles."

The 12-page patent application is credited to Apple engineer Joel Kraut.
post #2 of 20
Could they improve my consistency for being the first poster too?



Biatches!!!!
post #3 of 20
Hey, that sounds pretty cool.
post #4 of 20
If one has ambient noise sensors, why not use active noise cancellation instead (or at least in tandem with this technology)?
post #5 of 20
I think this is great, but being limited to wifi, the options for noise types is a bit limited.
post #6 of 20
Sounds like a reach to me. I'm not sure how useful such a thing would be, even if it could be gotten to work reliably as designed. Could even be an annoyance, but I suppose there would be some kind of opt out.

It also made me think about the way patents are used. There seems to be a kind of scattergun approach--patent anything and everything--just in case. I wonder how many patents Apple has amassed over the years that will never see the light of day?
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #7 of 20
They already have this in active use for some car stereos. Notsomuch for subtitles but in car audio listens to the ambient sounds and adjust volume up or down to suit.

Works pretty well too and is already widely in use so not particularly novel at all.

Either way I'd like to see them include these types of ideas into the phone.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulse View Post

If one has ambient noise sensors, why not use active noise cancellation instead (or at least in tandem with this technology)?

Because noise cancelation only really works well with headphones. You can already buy headphones to do this.

Are we really getting so lazy that we need the device to change the volume or turn on subtitles for us? I guess if it automatically changed volume of the phone when up to my ear that would be nice, but watching videos I don't see this being really all that useful. Just another fluff feature really.
post #9 of 20
maybe its a stupid question, but i m wondering if the secondary mic on the new iPhone 4 can achieve the function of noise cancellation when listening to ipod, ie produce an anti signal to the ambient noise pick up by the sec mic =)

if it does it would be wonderful as such earphone cost.
post #10 of 20
I am about to get my 1st iPhone soon. Can't wait. The Hands-free Earpiece with Mic comes with it, right?

There 3rd party ones can be in $100+ range. Not all of those are available at Apple Stores! So, unless one orders all of them and tests them all out, there is no way to find out which is best, aside from the word of mouth..., right?

Of course, even if those 3r party ones are available at Apple Retail Stores, I won't be able to try them, without paying for them first, right? For sanitary reasons, they won't let people stick an ear buds in their ears after someone else tried them before! They'd be cleaning to disinfect those products all day long!

Assuming that all those 3rd Party Hands-free Earpieces with Mic come with same navigation featires as Apple's, so to match the functionality, there are several other criteria to compare the on:
  • Sound Quality of Earphones - personal preference!
  • Mic, including Noise Cancellation - I am often using my Handsfree Mic on the go!
  • Durability! - The wired and plugs get broken!

So, I guess I'll have to become a "One Person Consumer Reports Magazine Lab" to answer those Qs?!?!

I prefer In Ear Blue Tooth Hands-free Earpiece with Mic, so that there are less wires to deal with! I wonder if it's too early to buy that type of device in terms of compatibility since it's a New iOS4 + and New iPhone 4?

I read somewhere that Blue Tooth Earphones don't sound as good as wired ones! But, do they sound really horrible, or is it only a slight difference! Assuming that Blue Tooth is and those Hands-free kits are used on the go, in noisy situations, I don't expect an audiophile quality...

Stand By & Talk Time means another battery to watch, more chargers to carry!

I also saw a Mic Splitter at Apple store, which allows one to plug in the Earphones of their choice. That seemed like a good idea, cause then one can get as picky as they want to get! Too many long wires would be the price to pay for that. At least, with that option one can test out the Noise Cancellation component separate from Earphones - thus no sanitary concerns!

Any thoughts recommendations, links on this topic? Is there a site that compares all such products? I didn't get too far with my search!!!

Go  Apple!!!

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Go  Apple!!!

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post #11 of 20
I remember SJ mentioning something about the new iPhone 4 being more "aware of its surroundings" due to the addition of the Gyroscope...

And now THIS... Fingerprinting the surrounding audio to "know" where it is.

Makes me wonder what SJ's REAL plan is... with all these hyper-aware devices, maybe iPods WILL end up being our overlords!

Wonder when the first iBuddy intelligent robot assistant will appear...

...only to later turn on its masters and take over! All hail the iOverlords! Praise be to Jobs!
post #12 of 20
So Apple is working on an excuse to turn your mic on and listen to your conversation. Don't think that could be a result of this technology? Guess again.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

So Apple is working on an excuse to turn your mic on and listen to your conversation. Don't think that could be a result of this technology? Guess again.

Look out, pmz, I think the black helicopters are circling your house again.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

So Apple is working on an excuse to turn your mic on and listen to your conversation. Don't think that could be a result of this technology? Guess again.

Oh pmz - yer so silly! In case you didn't know, not only does Apple listen in on ALL your conversations and is monitoring your emails, But Google is mapping where you go, who you talk to, what websites you visit, AND listening in on your conversations/emails with the Android. Of course Nokia has already filed suit against both companies, claiming that their monitoring of your activities pre-dates the other companies and infringes their patents. In fact all three

ARE WATCHING YOU RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!

Microsoft was reached for comment, but only replied "what?? who?? they can do that??!!! Wait!! our R&D people have been watching the WHOLE earth for sometime, so there!"

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by YodaMac View Post

I remember SJ mentioning something about the new iPhone 4 being more "aware of its surroundings" due to the addition of the Gyroscope...

And now THIS... Fingerprinting the surrounding audio to "know" where it is.

Makes me wonder what SJ's REAL plan is... with all these hyper-aware devices, maybe iPods WILL end up being our overlords!

Wonder when the first iBuddy intelligent robot assistant will appear...

...only to later turn on its masters and take over! All hail the iOverlords! Praise be to Jobs!

I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by macologist View Post

I am about to get my 1st iPhone soon. Can't wait. The Hands-free Earpiece with Mic comes with it, right?

There 3rd party ones can be in $100+ range. Not all of those are available at Apple Stores! So, unless one orders all of them and tests them all out, there is no way to find out which is best, aside from the word of mouth..., right?

Of course, even if those 3r party ones are available at Apple Retail Stores, I won't be able to try them, without paying for them first, right? For sanitary reasons, they won't let people stick an ear buds in their ears after someone else tried them before! They'd be cleaning to disinfect those products all day long!

Assuming that all those 3rd Party Hands-free Earpieces with Mic come with same navigation featires as Apple's, so to match the functionality, there are several other criteria to compare the on:
  • Sound Quality of Earphones - personal preference!
  • Mic, including Noise Cancellation - I am often using my Handsfree Mic on the go!
  • Durability! - The wired and plugs get broken!

So, I guess I'll have to become a "One Person Consumer Reports Magazine Lab" to answer those Qs?!?!

I prefer In Ear Blue Tooth Hands-free Earpiece with Mic, so that there are less wires to deal with! I wonder if it's too early to buy that type of device in terms of compatibility since it's a New iOS4 + and New iPhone 4?

I read somewhere that Blue Tooth Earphones don't sound as good as wired ones! But, do they sound really horrible, or is it only a slight difference! Assuming that Blue Tooth is and those Hands-free kits are used on the go, in noisy situations, I don't expect an audiophile quality...

Stand By & Talk Time means another battery to watch, more chargers to carry!

I also saw a Mic Splitter at Apple store, which allows one to plug in the Earphones of their choice. That seemed like a good idea, cause then one can get as picky as they want to get! Too many long wires would be the price to pay for that. At least, with that option one can test out the Noise Cancellation component separate from Earphones - thus no sanitary concerns!

Any thoughts recommendations, links on this topic? Is there a site that compares all such products? I didn't get too far with my search!!!

To answer some of this, yes the earpiece with the mic comes with the phone so you'll definitely have something to use from day one in the box.

Bluetooth earpieces aren't so much bad quality but some people find them not worth the trouble and they still don't seem widely used. Obviously only some of them handle stereo sound as well.

Finally, in terms of recommendations for other earpieces you don't need to do it all yourself as those magazines have been testing them. They make clear the good and bad points, the sound quality and whether they have a built in mic. Try recent issues of Macworld magazine.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by soboliao View Post

maybe its a stupid question, but i m wondering if the secondary mic on the new iPhone 4 can achieve the function of noise cancellation when listening to ipod, ie produce an anti signal to the ambient noise pick up by the sec mic =)

if it does it would be wonderful as such earphone cost.

This would be great. I think it's mainly designed to cut the ambient on the mic (for your caller) but it'd be brilliant to work on the audio side!
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulse View Post

Look out, pmz, I think the black helicopters are circling your house again.

I can see this very-bright, red spot moving through my wall... Weird
I've accomplished my childhood's dream: My job consists mainly of playing with toys all day long.
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I've accomplished my childhood's dream: My job consists mainly of playing with toys all day long.
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post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulse View Post

Look out, pmz, I think the black helicopters are circling your house again.

What are you suggesting? That nothing evil, or corrupt, exists anywhere, within any of the corporate technology that we enjoy using?

Or are you simply one of those people who can't listen to reality, and instead has to draw parallels to fake "conspiracies" to make yourself feel that the real ones aren't occurring?

Black Helicopters = whatever. If you see them, they're real. If you don't, they're not.

Apple/Google/Microsoft being the "friendly" consumer arm of the National Security Agency, is unquestionably real.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

This would be great. I think it's mainly designed to cut the ambient on the mic (for your caller) but it'd be brilliant to work on the audio side!

maybe an app can be created just for this? i believe this is jus a matter of software modification issue. m i right to say that?
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