by Brent Dirks
April 12, 2012
One of the most derided and useless parts of the iPhone and iPod experience may be getting a welcome makeover. Apple is looking to expand its unibody philosophy to its earbuds, according to a set of patents uncovered by AppleInsider. Since headphones are composed of a number of components that have to be pieced together, Apple believes current earbuds are "abrupt and aesthetically displeasing."
The company could resolve this with new headsets featuring a range of components that would "seamlessly integrate" with one another, as described in a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider. The filing, entitled "Ultrasonically Welded Structures and Methods for Making the Same," describes how different components could be welded together for a seamless look. Apple describes the new headphones as having an appearance that they were constructed as "a seamless unibody structure," even though the earbuds may include two different component pieces welded together.The second patent uncovered deals with building curved, plastic objects like a headphone or earbud. Currently, the way holes are created lessens the appearance and sound qualities, according to Apple.
The solution presented in that application is a tool for "deburring" a curved plastic object. The tool could be coated in an abrasive material and would conform to the shape of the curved object, then polish it by vibrating while in contact with the plastic surface.While the new-look earbuds will hopefully become a reality sooner than later, maybe Apple engineers can actually improve the sound quality as well. Going all the way back to the iPod, the supplied earphones are pretty much the only thing I have never used. Would you actually want to use Apple's earbuds if they sported the proposed unibody appearance?