Two Apple patent filings involve the upcoming HomePod speaker system

Apple has filed for two patents involving the upcoming HomePod speaker system. Apple’s HomePod is expected to go on sale in December and cost $349. The device is just under seven inches tall and looks like a piece of furniture. It will be available in both space gray and white, and also acts as a hub for HomeKit devices to provide remote access to home automation.

Patent number 20170280231 is for a “loudspeaker with reduced audio coloration caused by reflections from a surface.” It’s designed to reduce the effects caused by reflections off a surface on which the loudspeaker is resting. 

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In one embodiment, the loudspeaker has individual transducers that are situated to be within a specified distance from the reflective surface, e.g., a baseplate that rests on a tabletop or floor surface, such that the travel distances of the reflected sounds and direct sounds from the transducers are nearly equivalent. 

Patent number 2017028265 is for a “method to determine loudspeaker change of placement.” It involves a system and method for determining whether a loudspeaker device has relocated, tilted, rotated, or otherwise been moved such that one or more parameters for driving the loudspeaker may be modified and/or a complete reconfiguration of the loudspeaker or the loudspeaker system may be performed to adjust sound quality. 

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.