Apple granted a patent for an automatic recording and authoring tool

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,824,719) for an automatic recording and authoring tool. It involves GarageBand for macOS and iOS and Logic Pro X for macOS.

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The patent is for a method for automatically starting an audio recording that includes receiving audio data and dividing the audio data into a first set of consecutive segments and a second set of consecutive segments that occur after the first set. The method further includes analyzing the first set of segments by measuring an average energy and peak value for each segment of the first set and determining a silence score therefrom, and analyzing the second set of segments by measuring an average energy and peak value for each segment of the second set and determining an music score therefrom. The method begins a recording of the audio data if the silence score is above a first predetermined value and the music score is above a second predetermined value.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that over the last several decades, audio recording capabilities have become more and more accessible to average users. Where musicians conventionally had to travel to recording studios to record their ideas, improvements in technology have brought cheaper and more sophisticated mobile recording devices to the masses, allowing musicians to record their ideas virtually anywhere and at a moment's notice. Some contemporary recording devices are hand-held (e.g., mobile phones, voice memo recorders, etc.) for portability and convenience. 

However, Apple notes that, despite these improvements, there are several shortcomings with contemporary recording devices that stifle creativity. For instance, starting a recording session typically requires a user to navigate a number of menus and settings to place the device in the correct mode of operation and manually press a button to initiate a recording session. 

Apple says this can be cumbersome and repeated takes (track recordings) can interfere with the creative process, particular with off-the-cuff "scratch" recordings that may be used to capture inspired but fleeting musical ideas. Furthermore, these recordings may include unwanted sounds (e.g., talking, background noise, etc.) before and after the performance, which may need to be removed post-performance with editing software. Improved recording devices and processes are needed. The tech giant wants to improve this.

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.