Thursday, January 26, 2023
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Apple ‘target sounds’ patent involves improved audio quality on AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220374193) for a “method and apparatus for generating target sounds.” It involves digital audio processing techniques for improving the experience of users of AirPods, AirPods Pro, and the AirPod Max.

About the patent filing

As Apple notes in the patent filng, headphones are used not just for listening to music and participating in phone calls, but also for creating a quiet hearing experience for the wearer using acoustic noise cancellation for example while riding in an airplane, a train, or a bus. With designs that are increasingly comfortable, and attractive yet unobtrusive, some headphones can also be worn for longer time periods. 

Wearers are often seen with headphones on not just while engaged in other mental or physical activities but also while simply relaxing. Apple wants its audio devices to generate a target sound by a speaker that may be integrated within a headphone, that helps avoid distractions from internal and external sound sources that a listener (e.g., the wearer of the headphone) might be hearing at any given moment. 

The target sound may mask or lessen the perceived loudness of other sounds that the listener could be hearing and that are distracting. The other sounds could be external such as passive leakage of environment sound (e.g., babble, chatter, machine noise) or it could be internal (something other than leakage of the environment sound that the listener hears, which may include occlusion effect, active real-time reproduction of environment sound,

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A method for headphone playback of target sound. Some of the bins of a sound file are accessed, wherein the sound file has several bins each bin storing a number of audio sections. Audio sections are selected from the accessed bins, and mixed while cross fading to form a target sound sequence. A headphone speaker is driven with the target sound sequence. Other aspects are also described and claimed.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.