Cool idea for iPod v2

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I just thought of a cool idea for the next rev to the iPod ...



Apple just released a bluetooth adapter, well, software, and a dlink adapter anyway. Wouldn't it be cool if the next iPod had integrated bluetooth and wireless bluetooth headphones? I've seen them on cell phone sites, i know they exist ... man, that'd be pretty neat! At least, I think so... Wireless headphones, and just keep the ipod wherever, in your pocket, hooked up to your mac, ... what is the range on bluetooth again? Almost makes me want to go and get one ... if it already supported this ...
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    macwaymacway Posts: 55member
    sweet idea man, I'm with you.



    [ 04-03-2002: Message edited by: macway ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Since Bluetooth cannot transmit much current through the air (for all intensive purposes, no current), it would be hard to power the headphones unless they contained a bulky battery pack & amplifier. The added bulk and weight would prevent me from considering them.



    Plus, Bluetooth is not all that great. A low power 802.11a chip should cost about $50- that is, Apple will be buying them for $35 a pop. Since by FCC law these chips cannot transmit more than 1W, and that is pretty long range, a low power/low range version would be fine.



    Plus, transmitting/receiving at 1.2Mbps is worthless. I may as well just plug it in to the firewire. 54Mbps might cut it.



    [ 04-04-2002: Message edited by: Splinemodel ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 24
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    This would be pretty cool. If it would also work with a bluetooth enabled car head unit, that would be perfect.



    [quote] Since Bluetooth cannot transmit much current through the air (for all intensive purposes, no current), it would be hard to power the headphones unless they contained a bulky battery pack & amplifier. The added bulk and weight would prevent me from considering them. <hr></blockquote>



    One of the main advantages of bluetooth is that the hardware required is simple and has low power requirements. It may be possible to have bluetooth headphones powered by a button cell that lasts for a month or more, and aren't any more bulky than a decent pair of headphones. Obviously, earbuds would be a different story, but even then, the whole system wouldn't be too bulky.



    [quote] Plus, transmitting/receiving at 1.2Mbps is worthless. I may as well just plug it in to the firewire. 54Mbps might cut it. <hr></blockquote>



    For headphones, 1Mbps is adequate. Replacing the firewire port on the iPod with bluetooth would be an incredibly stupid idea... Bluetooth would be in addition to the firewire port.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Hi Splinemodel --



    802.11x has way higher power consumption then Bluetooth AAAAAAND your "cheap chip" costs 7 x more then an average OEM Bluetooth chip.



    In other words, Bluetooth is *designed* for this kinda thing, and 802.11x isn't.



    My mobile has Bluetooth, is smaller then the small Nokia and has standby of a week. BT headphones are svelte too, although I guess the Apple challenge would be to design a goodlooking set that charged easily and widgety.



    The H



    [ 04-04-2002: Message edited by: Harald ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by Splinemodel:

    <strong>for all intensive purposes</strong><hr></blockquote>





    It's for all intents and purposes, not "for all intensive purposes". What the hell is an "intensive purpose"? <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />
  • Reply 6 of 24
    ricrocketricrocket Posts: 142member
    [quote] the hell is an "intensive purpose"? <hr></blockquote>



    I try to be "intensively purposeful" at times...does that count?



    I strongly agree with the BT headphones also, along with the BT car adaptor. This is 2002 for pete's sake, let's get wireless already!



    rr.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    stepsonstepson Posts: 95member
    I don't think it would have to be THAT big and bulky, i was looking around on a couple of cell phone sites, and they have bluetooth headsets ... bigger than regular headphones, obviously, but not tremendous ...



    Yes, working with bluetooth in a car stereo would also be awesome!



    "Intensive Purposes" is a mac forum tradition, no? hehe, i think that started with someone on macnn's forums, ...



    Does anyone have a bluetooth enabled phone in the US? I was looking around for a new cell phone last night, and i found a few that are bluetooth enabled, but they're all sold in europe or asia ... Does anyone have one here in the states? I'd really like to get one, see if it syncs w/ OSX and the dlink bluetooth adapter ...
  • Reply 8 of 24
    gametesgametes Posts: 27member
    Some watches are powered simply by the force incurred through motion. Some calculators are powered by solar energy.

    How much power do headphones put out? Would a combination power source of these 2 things and a small battery belay the need for a full fledged battery in the headphones?
  • Reply 9 of 24
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    There's a bit of a problem with using the little generator in say, Seiko's Kinetic Quartz watchs (I've got one. ). Think about the range of motion your wrist goes through on any given day, and then compare it to how much (and how far) yo move your head. There probably wouldn't be enough motion to keep the thing powered, unless, of course, you're a head banger.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    I'd really like to see an audio out adapter for the iPod so that I can play MP3s on my stereo.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Eh, quit bugging about my grammar: I'm an engineer, not a novelist.



    Next, bluetooth wouldn't cut it for headphones. You guys don't seem to get it.



    Bluetooth transmits a digital signal.

    So that means you'll need:

    - Bluetooth receiver

    - DAC

    - preamp

    - power amp



    The DAC is nearly a processor, and the other two are integrated circuits. Granted, these aren't too big, they do consume more power than I'd like.



    Next, unless you put your microprocessors that convert MP3 to uncompressed sound which can later be sent through the DAC inside the headphones too, you'll have to send the uncompressed digital audio through the bluetooth.



    44,100 samples/sec * 16bit/sample * 1 sec * 2channels (stereo) = 1.35 Mbps



    And that is beyond the bandwidth of Bluetooth. Besides, even 1.2Mbps isn't a realistic, real world number.



    So I'll just keep my headphone wires. You guys can have the bulky headphone set with degraded sound.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    [quote]Originally posted by MaCommentary:

    <strong>I'd really like to see an audio out adapter for the iPod so that I can play MP3s on my stereo. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Erm, does not the headphone jack double as a stereo miniplug?
  • Reply 13 of 24
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    [quote] Next, bluetooth wouldn't cut it for headphones. You guys don't seem to get it.

    <hr></blockquote>



    Easy there, big fella! There are already bluetooth headsets on the market for cell phones. Bluetooth will cut it for headphones, so long as the audio stream is compressed.

    I don't really see this as that big of a deal.



    [quote] Next, unless you put your microprocessors that convert MP3 to uncompressed sound which can later be sent through the DAC inside the headphones too, you'll have to send the uncompressed digital audio through the bluetooth. <hr></blockquote>



    That's exactly what you would do.



    [quote] So I'll just keep my headphone wires. You guys can have the bulky headphone set with degraded sound. <hr></blockquote>



    Do you use earbuds, or supra-aural headphones? If you use circumaural headphones, then you're nuts to think that the extra hardware would add much to their bulk. A good light pair of supra-aural headphones might see a substantial increase in weight-- it might double from 2 to 4 oz.



    Degraded sound? Come on-- how does the iPod store music to begin with? All you're doing is taking the MP3 and streaming it to the headphones instead of decoding in the iPod itself. Where's the degradation?



    At any rate, I really don't see how bluetooth headphones would consume any more power and be more bulky than something like <a href="http://www.sonystyle.com/electronics/prd.jsp?hierc=8627x9581&catid=9581&pid=34613&type= p" target="_blank">this</a>. (I hope that link works-- it's to a pair of Sony headphones that incorporate a AM/FM radio.)
  • Reply 14 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Radios are low power and can be made on a chip. Afterall, that's what Bluetooth is. MP3 encoding/decoding requires a decent amount of processor power. Radios have been around for 100 years.



    As for the existing bluetooth headphones: They do not send a compressed signal. The signal they carry is essentially 8000 samples per second, 8bits per sample, single channel audio. Do the math. This can be sent over Bluetooth without a problem, but the sound quality is weak (8bits/ sample) and the sampling rate is low. A low sampling rate is OK for voice audio since 3000 Hertz is higher than anyone will speak, and that puts 8000Hz sampling well above the Nyquist rate.



    Next, I use earbuds when I'm moving, and the big headphones when I'm stationary. I am a runner, and I don't even wear head phones at all when I run, since even earbuds tend to fall out. the larger headphones slide all over the place. I'd estimate that the modifications required to make a pair of headphones work as bluetooth receivers would justify an addition equal to half the weight of the iPod. So that's about 90 grams, which would pretty much double the weight of the headphones. It doesn't sound like a lot, 90 grams, but considering that it's double the weight of my headphones, I don't think I'd like that. It would be like carrying an iPod on my head.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    bradbowerbradbower Posts: 1,068member
    Splinemodel is right. Bluetooth is just not feasible for audio.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    [quote] Radios are low power and can be made on a chip. Afterall, that's what Bluetooth is. MP3 encoding/decoding requires a decent amount of processor power. Radios have been around for 100 years. <hr></blockquote>



    Define a decent amount of power. I have a Rio 600 that will go about ten hours (which lasts me about two weeks for my usage-- sometimes a bit more) on a single AA cell. Would swapping in a bluetooth receiver for the flash memory consume a substantially larger amount of power?



    [quote] As for the existing bluetooth headphones: They do not send a compressed signal. <hr></blockquote>



    I wasn't suggesting using existing bluetooth headsets as headphones... I just noted that they exist. Sorry if that wasn't clear.



    [quote] I'd estimate that the modifications required to make a pair of headphones work as bluetooth receivers would justify an addition equal to half the weight of the iPod. So that's about 90 grams, which would pretty much double the weight of the headphones. It doesn't sound like a lot, 90 grams, but considering that it's double the weight of my headphones, I don't think I'd like that. It would be like carrying an iPod on my head.<hr></blockquote>



    Given that my Rio 600 weighs a grand total of 2.4 ounces, I think you're a bit off, given that the 2.4 ounces includes the case. If you're adding bluetooth functionality to headphones, I'd think the weight of the associated electronics & battery would be a bit less-- about half? That's only just over an ounce... Although you do have to add an amp & juice to power it, so you may not be too far off.



    Hmm... If it's for stationary listening, I'm not sure I see the problem. Decent circumaural headphones start at about 4 ounces, and go up from there. I don't really see that adding bluetooth functionality as really adding all that much.



    I know there would be a market for such headphones. Look at how many cordless headphones are on the market right now. Throw in the fact that bluetooth headphones could be easily used with a device like a bluetooth enabled iPod, and you've just discovered a new market for them. You'd add the element of meaningful portability (in other words, not limited to within a couple hundred feet of a stationary base).



    [quote] Splinemodel is right. Bluetooth is just not feasible for audio. <hr></blockquote>



    It's feasible if the audio stream is compressed... Really, guys, why is there so much resistance to this idea? It seems rather natural to me.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Gamblor: you are thinking precisely, but there is a lot that you're missing.



    1) the Bluetooth system would take up some amount of size and weight.



    2) all of the electronics would have to be made particularly robust, due to the shaking motion of waking, heads moving, and not so unrealistic possibility that the headphones might fall off. My headphones have fallen off before, maybe yours don't



    3) You'd still need some RAM to act as a buffer.



    4) I don't imagine where an AA or AAA cell could be put. You'd probably need to integrate a rechargable battery, LiPoly being the only choice I can think of that would work well.



    5) you'd need to integrate voltage regulation circuitry into it regardless of your choice of battery. using disposables adds weight due to the carrier, etc.



    6) There would have to be two boards: one of the headphones and one for the player. Along with two voltage regulators and power systems.



    7) You're transmitting a signal through the air: this will always require more power than sending a signal through a conductor.



    So the added weight comes from the extra battery power required, plus the dual voltage regualtion and power systems required, plus the robust design of boards used for the headphones. I can go on and on. I'm an EE: I know what parts a product like this would require.



    Then comes the price. The result of building nearly two of everything adds to the price considerably, considering that two assembly lines are required. I don't think that wireless portable audio is ready for primetime anytime soon. When the system we speak of is built on a single chip (not for a while since bluetooth does produce electrical interference) Then weight and the price might cut it in the marketplace.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    ijerryijerry Posts: 615member
    Wireless, not wireless. how it would look and feel. Whatever. I just want some earbud peices that will actually stay in my ear while working out. a Podband to attach the Ipod to say, my arm while running. Give the damn thing a clock and hell while we are at it let it run a program to monitor heart rate...(I can see the little heart beating on my screen now). Give me features that I will actually use, but for now I will just listen to the music I have and see what I can design myself.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    Splinemodel, I think you're being needlessly pesimistic... But what should I expect? You're an EE. (just kidding)



    I'm going to address your points out of order, hope you don't mind:



    [quote]2) all of the electronics would have to be made particularly robust, due to the shaking motion of waking, heads moving, and not so unrealistic possibility that the headphones might fall off. My headphones have fallen off before, maybe yours don't



    [...]



    4) I don't imagine where an AA or AAA cell could be put. You'd probably need to integrate a rechargable battery, LiPoly being the only choice I can think of that would work well.



    5) you'd need to integrate voltage regulation circuitry into it regardless of your choice of battery. using disposables adds weight due to the carrier, etc.



    [...]



    7) You're transmitting a signal through the air: this will always require more power than sending a signal through a conductor.



    <hr></blockquote>



    These are all problems that are addressed by current cordless headphone design. Manufacturers seem to have overcome and/or addressed them just fine.



    [quote]1) the Bluetooth system would take up some amount of size and weight.<hr></blockquote>



    Yes, but so does the receiver in current cordless headphone designs. I don't really see any reason why the bluetooth system would be any different. Look at the size of the little DLink USB/bluetooth dongles Apple is selling for a comparison.



    [quote]3) You'd still need some RAM to act as a buffer.<hr></blockquote>



    OK-- that could (and probably would) be integrated into the processor for the MP3 decoding. Why would you need a very large buffer? You don't need the 32MB in the iPod, the only reason it's got that much is to minimize the time spent spinning the HD. Something like 256k would probably be more than ample space; 64k or 128k would probably be more likely values.



    [quote]6) There would have to be two boards: one of the headphones and one for the player. Along with two voltage regulators and power systems.<hr></blockquote>



    Yes, but there's already going to be a board, regulator, and power system in the player; you're just adding a smaller one for the headphones. I'm not sure if I've addressed your point on this one...



    [quote]So the added weight comes from the extra battery power required, plus the dual voltage regualtion and power systems required, plus the robust design of boards used for the headphones. I can go on and on. I'm an EE: I know what parts a product like this would require.<hr></blockquote>



    The problem, Splinemodel, is that theres already an entire range of devices that almost fit the bill; namely, cordless headphones. The points you've listed above seem to indicate that you've overlooked that. Fitting a radio, a battery, and a voltage regulator into a pair of headphones and making it robust has already been addressed. The only real wildcards are the bluetooth hardware and a processor for decoding the MP3 stream, and their associated support bits (like a RAM buffer). Given that both of those bits of hardware exist in portable devices, I just don't see why it would be such a big deal to "fuse" the three together...



    [ 04-06-2002: Message edited by: Gamblor ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 24
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    My last post built up to marketability. Maybe you missed that.
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