Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,621,987) for a “tactile swath for an electronic device” that hints at wireless speakers that could work with Macs, iOS devices and Apple TVs.
The patent is for a wireless speaker audio system configured to receive audio information wirelessly transmitted by an audio source including first and second wireless transceivers. In the filing, Apple says a “significant disadvantage “of wireless stereo loudspeakers that use a proprietary wireless protocol is that a separate RF transmitter must be added to the audio source since the audio source does not otherwise support the proprietary protocol.
These RF transmitters are typically in the form of a dongle, which plugs into the audio source. Apple says that he dongle adds bulk to portable systems, and shortens battery life if it draws power from the audio source. If the dongle has its own power source, then it becomes one more item that requires a charger.
Apple continues that a “significant disadvantage” of wireless stereo loudspeakers that use standard protocols, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or the like, is that these protocols were not designed to reliably carry stereo audio traffic to separate left and right receivers. Therefore, current systems that use standard protocols use a wired connection between the left and right loudspeakers.
This results in unsightly or otherwise inconvenient cables for traditional loudspeaker systems, or awkward form factors for small devices such as headphones. Apple’s goal is to create un-tethered wireless transceivers that communicate with an audio source, and more particularly to an audio system which eliminates the need for a wired connection between the first and second wireless transceivers.
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.