Apple patent aims to stifle noise from iPhone's vibrate mode

A patent filed today describes a way to lessen the sound your iPhone gives off in vibrate mode any time a call or alert comes through.

CNET

Annoyed by that buzzing sound triggered by your phone's vibrate mode? Apple may one day provide a solution.

Dubbed "Vibration In Portable Devices," a patent filed today with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details an Apple invention in which that annoying sound can be monitored and reduced.

Apple's technology would use sensors to detect the vibrations of the phone when in vibrate mode. If the sensors determine that the sound given off by the vibration exceeds a certain level, that noise is automatically toned down. The technology could also decrease the sound and even the movement of a vibrating phone when it's on top of a hard surface.

"When a mobile phone is set to actuate a silent alert while it is in contact with a hard surface (e.g., on a table or a shelf, or in a drawer), the rotating eccentric weight may cause the mobile phone to vibrate and rattle against the surface," Apple said in the patent. "In some cases, the noise caused by the rattling exceeds that of audible alerts and may be much more disruptive. Further, the mobile phone may move along the surface when the vibrating device is activated, thus placing the mobile phone at risk of falling."

The patent also suggests other methods of alerting the user. The phone could flash a light or the screen could turn on.

Of course, Apple and other vendors already provide a notification system to alert you of incoming messages and other items. But Apple seems to be thinking of alternative solutions as well.

If it ever sees the light of day, Apple's new technology would be a boon to all of us who've ever had a vibrating phone interrupt a meeting or interview at just the wrong moment.

(Via AppleInsider)

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About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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