Apple Patents Hybrid Wireless Earbuds
At the Apple Expo in Paris in 2005, Steve Jobs explained that the iPod would not come with a Bluetooth headset because there were to many issues with the technology: “The problem with Bluetooth headphones is that it’s not just recharging your iPod, you have to recharge your headphones too. People hate it. There are quality issues – the bandwidth isn’t high enough, and even if it does get there some day, people don’t want to recharge their headphones.”
That was seven years ago. Both the iPod and the Bluetooth standard have evolved since 2005. Apple’s thoroughly embraced the idea of local Wireless streaming of audio and video. Every portable in Apple’s upcoming lineup, except for the iPod Shuffle, will be equipped with a Bluetooth radio. So how’s Apple planning to leverage the wireless features in its own devices?
According Apple’s patent for a Detatchable Wireless Listening Device, Apple may be interested in creating a wireless headphone solution of their own, though Apple’s preferences for wired headphones are apparent in the patent. The writer sees wired headphones as being “simple and efficient” for transmitting audio, but recognizes that they are “susceptible to becoming entangled while the end user is participating in physical activity.” To provide the best of both worlds, Apple’s patent provides a hybrid solution which involves a wired headphone that can turn into a wireless transmitter and receiver when detached.
While the idea of having a wireless transmitter embedded in the cord is outdated, considering how ubiquitous Bluetooth will be in all Apple’s announced products, the idea of having a pair of wireless headphones that can also act as a pair of wired headphones has potential. Especially if the headphones can also charge while connected to the host device. It could take away the hassle and the drawbacks of using wireless headphones.
Do you think Apple should release hybrid wireless headphones? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.