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Apple Patent Hints At Magnetic Ear Hooks To Keep Future AirPods In Your Ears (digitaltrends.com) 73

Patently Apple has recently uncovered a new Apple patent that may help AirPods stay in your ears. The patent details a magnetic mechanism that wraps around the user's ear. Digital Trends reports: The magnets attract each other through the ear tissue, keeping the AirPods in place and ensuring that they don't get lost. Of course, it's not certain if Apple filed this patent with AirPods in mind -- one of the images clearly shows a wired pair of headphones, and the patent was filed in June. The concept, however, would help keep both wired and wireless earbuds in place. The issue of keeping AirPods in the ear has been arguably the biggest issue related to the AirPods, and for good reason -- they're pretty expensive little devices, so losing them is definitely not something you want to do. It's possible that Apple decided against using the ear hooks for aesthetic reasons -- Apple is known for its excellent design and the ear hooks in the patent don't exactly look great. Not only that but the design of the charging case would have to change with the ear hooks. Some reports indicate that the patent could be implemented with future versions and given the hullaballoo surrounding keeping AirPods in, we wouldn't be totally surprised. It's also possible, however, that Apple patented the design but ultimately ended up nixing it.
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Apple Patent Hints At Magnetic Ear Hooks To Keep Future AirPods In Your Ears

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  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @09:08PM (#53582485)
    well, without the magnets, and their slaves really liked it since they didn't have to have hooks in their lips.
  • Like we always did with our glasses?

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @09:18PM (#53582517)
    http://www.dailydot.com/debug/... [dailydot.com]
    now i know why i never bought apple products, they attract too much of a cult following, and i am just not in to that, enjoy your apple koolaide
    • Right, because Android is totally free [pinterest.com] of any kind of fanatical devotees...

      • If that's a real tattoo my bum's a frying pan.

        My three-year-old comes home from school with more convincing looking ones than that.

        • Google "Android Tattoo" and see the ugly truth for yourself. I don't know if that exact one is real, but I've seen real ones in person.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      what the fuck kind of bullshit is a site with like 3 pictures and text trying to pull that it pegs all 4 cores of my CPU

      • 4 core 6502?
        • 4 core 6502?

          More likely an i7 running Windows 10.

        • by Nethead ( 1563 )

          Not four core but back in the mid 80s I was using a CMOS 6502 that would do 4MHz (HC65C02P4) from Hitachi. We were building a product that had internals very closely based on the VIC20 (okay, it would run VIC BASIC) that we built our own boards for. On my development board I had built out the I/O for the 1541 disk drive, the problem was the CPU was too fast to talk to the drive. I put in a clutch and gearbox. The clutch was a push button that would ground the HALT line on the CPU (CMOS, so we could get

      • I thought javascript was single threaded.....hmmmm, itchy chin. itchy chin!

      • by chihowa ( 366380 )

        An awesome site to help train my javascript blacklist is what it is! Thanks for the heads-up.

      • what the fuck kind of bullshit is a site with like 3 pictures and text trying to pull that it pegs all 4 cores of my CPU

        It's a design failure of your computer.

    • So you write off an entire company just because of a few idiots?

      Do you actually use anything at all because I can guarantee it that everything under the Sun has been used for dumb shit.

      How about instead of judging a product based on an idiotic fashion statement you instead evaluate it on practicality ?

      I'm not defending earbuds -- they suck compared to a "real" circumaural headphones (over-ear headphones) -- you can pry my Sens 380 Pro and Sony MDR 7506 from my cold, dead hands -- but go ahead and keep label

      • Apple is a luxury brand. Like most luxury brands they may not be superior to the non-luxury brands but in general they are of high quality.
        If I get the grocery store's brand of lentils I will get a can of lentils that will be fine and do the job. I could actually get a really good batch that is better than the rest. Or I can get a can of namebrand say from Goya it may not be as good as that really good can I got but in general it is of good quality and less of a risk of getting that bad brand of mushy le

        • > Apple used to be is a luxury brand.

          FTFY.

          I love my MacBook Pro (Mid 2014), but lately Apple has jumped the shark and moved from a luxury brand to full iHipster.
          i.e.
          Every so often they come up with a great idea (MagSafe) but then they go full retard and remove it (!) [theverge.com] Along with them soldering the memory to the motherboard, while I understand they are trying to cut costs, is a full dick move.

          Apple has lost their way.

        • What kind of a twat buys lentils in cans?

  • Apple will give those for free to people that bought the airpods, right?

  • Revolutionary! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @09:29PM (#53582575) Journal
    If only someone else had thought of a way to use magnets to attach things to your ear [amazon.com]! This is courage taken to a new level, we're talking iCourage levels here...
    • If only someone else had thought of a way to use magnets to attach things to your ear [amazon.com]! This is courage taken to a new level, we're talking iCourage levels here...

      That's my thinking too - how in hell could a patent ever be granted for this, given such obvious prior art? The fact that a company would even be bothered to apply for such a patent is proof positive that the patent system is horribly broken. But then, everybody here already knew that.

      • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

        If they just stick one end of a round magnet on the earphone, and leave the other for you to put on the other side of your dangly part of the ear (like that earring does), then, yeah, there's no patent there.

        If this is some way of keeping the earphone inside the ear canal that doesn't jar loose as you're running or jumping around, then, well, there's nothing at all like that on the market (as far as I know). Just because it involves magnets and ears, it still can be novel enough.

        • See the above-linked earrings. They hold on, even if you're jumping around and running. Source: my wife, who has reactions to metal through her ears. Clip-ons and magnet-ons are fine, however...
          • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

            Oh, I'm sure they do, but it's one thing to have a feather-light earring stay on the outside of your ear, and it's another to have a large (relative to the earring) earphone stay *inside* your ear.

            Having a magnet support it down below is not going to do it, it'll have to be something above/behind the ear, while still feeling comfortable.

            • Get you two industrial magnets, one for each ear. They hold about 100 pounds each. Simply put one on each ear and this should solve the earbud issues with them staying in your ear. Heck, it would solve all your apple issues. Hell, would probably solve all your lifes issues.

      • You'll have to read the actual patent application carefully before calling "prior art!". The linked articles don't provide a link to the actual patent application, so it's a bit difficult to know what they actually patented.

        I'm not even sure if it's a technological patent or a design patent in this case. It seems to be the first, though can't be sure without a link to the actual patent.

      • If only someone else had thought of a way to use magnets to attach things to your ear [amazon.com]! This is courage taken to a new level, we're talking iCourage levels here...

        That's my thinking too - how in hell could a patent ever be granted for this, given such obvious prior art? The fact that a company would even be bothered to apply for such a patent is proof positive that the patent system is horribly broken. But then, everybody here already knew that.

        It's not a patent, it's a patent application. Your outrage is misplaced, but oddly ironic considering you're complaining about the patent system's ignorance, without actually knowing what you're talking about.

        Second, they're not simply claiming a magnet connected to something for your ear, but a very specific implementation. But realizing that requires reading the application, and again, you thought it was a patent, so... yeah.

        Third, even aside from that, there are some obvious difficulties incorporating

        • This was informative and it is a common mistake to think that "applied for patent related to X" means "patented X". The Slashdot summary tells us only that the application is something *related to* magnets on ear buds, it could be something truly novel, unique and complex having to do with the magnet that's needed to drive the tiny speaker in the earbuds, and preventing (or even using) interference from multiple magnets.

          It's also important to keep in mind that a patent application is not a patent. Applica

    • Well they are attaching the buds to stick inside your ear not on the outside. Also it needs to be placed where it wouldn't be uncomfortable. Invention is rarely having something absolutely new but a progression of an idea.

  • Apple iBand (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've got it - how about a sort of headband thing that rests across the top of the head and connects the two pods together, all as one connected unit. Make the band a bit springy and bendy so it can fit multiple size heads. Maybe put a bit of foam padding around the speakers.

    You should get right on top of patenting that as a completely original Apple-brand idea, guys.

    • You jest, but the first pair of in-ear ones I had were fine - except when I was cycling - when they used to fall out.

      The solution was wrapping the cable round one of those girly headband things.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe a wire to attach them to your device so they don't get lost.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @09:52PM (#53582691)

    Will these cost another $40-50?

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @10:14PM (#53582769) Homepage Journal

    Of course they had a few problems to overcome and had to adjust the strength of the magnets down a bit. The first version was great except for the horrible clacking sound they made when they met in the middle.

  • Trend... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 101percent ( 589072 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @10:50PM (#53582909)
    Make cellphone smaller. Release extended battery case that restores original size and costs you $100.

    Release laptops severely limited in ports. Tons of dongles to enable previous functionality.

    Release wireless headphones sold as a solution to reducing wires. Release extra co-product to re-establish the fit of wired headphones.
    • Make cellphone smaller. Release extended battery case that restores original size and costs you $100.

      Let's not forget about the drive to make them thinner too (a.k.a. Bendgate)

      Release laptops severely limited in ports. Tons of dongles to enable previous functionality.

      Let's not forget about the sealed box design, forcing the customer to buy all upgrades at time of purchase directly from the manufacturer, virtually eliminating the 3rd party market.

      Release wireless headphones sold as a solution to reducing wires.

      A "solution" no one was asking for, selling for five times more.

      Release extra co-product to re-establish the fit of wired headphones.

      Yet another revenue channel. This movie is called Apple Part Duex: The Search for More Money

      (As if $200 billion+ somehow isn't enough)

  • Apple has now patented a new design for the 2017 Airbuds. They're guaranteed not to fall out of your ears and there's even a security cable you can attach to your iPhone so you don't lose them.

    https://img0.etsystatic.com/00... [etsystatic.com]

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Friday December 30, 2016 @11:15PM (#53582999)
    Given who their customer base is, I suggest they also say the magnets are magic and prevent cancer and give you a quantum aura alignment boost or some BS like that. If you're about to correct me, keep in mind Steve Jobs thought juice drinks would cure his cancer and died because of it.
  • by DirkDaring ( 91233 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @01:31AM (#53583433)

    I do metal detecting. I can't wait to start finding these things at the beach.

  • Create an expensive version of a product that does something that's been done just fine for decades, with big glaring problems, and sell it by calling it revolutionary.

    Then, create another product that solves the problems the first product created.

    Apple's still got it.

  • If you're going to use magnets, do them right.

    Magnetize both airpods and let them attract to each other through the skull. That'll keep them in place.

    Bonus points if they use electromagnets that only activate once the devices are both in the ear canal (temperature-based?). Of course, this means that they may decouple once the user dies. I'm sure marketing can spin that in a good way.

  • Introducing the iMagnet, the cure for Apple's wireless earbuds. Only $79.99 gets you 2 pairs of genuine magnets guaranteed to attract each other without wires. It's like magic! How do the iMagnets work? We don't know, and you don't either, but you'll buy 'em and then you'll buy 'em again after they get lost.

    Or you could just buy a pair of decent wired earbuds for $9.99 and plug them into the- oh wait, we took that fucking jack out so you couldn't. Okay, no problem- just buy a new iDongle for $29.99 to repla

  • using a piercing would likely be far less painful than magnetic methods. Have you ever tried novelty magnetic earrings, or clip-on earrings? They fucking hurt, while piercings do not once they are healed.

  • He was able to keep an earpiece in his ear for five whole seasons without losing it or needing to recharge it for that matter.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"

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