Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190349662) for a “system having device-mount audio mode” that involves the“Apple Glasses,” a head-mounted, augmented reality system is coming in (depending on which rumors you believe) 1-3 years.
The patent filing involves different ways that audio would work in such a device. Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are display devices that can be worn on a head to display images to a user. HMDs are used for gaming, aviation, etc. HMDs include virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, which are head-mounted devices that provide realistically simulated experiences for the user. Some virtual reality headsets include an HMD mount to hold a mobile device, such as a smartphone, in front of the user.
The mobile device displays images of a virtual reality scene and may play sounds corresponding to the displayed images. The HMD mount can include electronics, such as a processor or an inertial measurement unit, and the mobile device may communicate electrical signals with the HMD mount through electrical cables and connectors. For example, the user may manually control the mobile device by interacting with the HMD mount to input control signals that are communicated through the electrical cables and connectors to the mobile device.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A system having a head-mounted display (HMD) mount and a mobile device, are described. A processor of the system can determine whether the mobile device is mounted on the HMD mount and handle an audio signal communicated from the mobile device to a wireless headphone based on whether the mobile device is mounted on the HMD mount. When the mobile device is not mounted on the HMD mount, the mobile device or the wireless headphone may operate in a first audio mode.
“When the mobile device is mounted on the HMD mount, the mobile device or the wireless headphone may operate in a second audio mode. The second audio mode can reduce audio signal latency between the mobile device and the wireless headphone and increase motion-to-sound quality.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.