Apple has filed a patent for a new technology that could help it overcome Bluetooth restrictions

Apple has filed a patent for a new technology that could help it overcome Bluetooth restrictions

Between you moving your head and the sound changing or remaining static. It will make you feel quite ill, so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximise or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth.

One of the foundations of current mobile technology is Bluetooth. Technology can sometimes feel like magic because of the things it permits us to do. It does, however, have drawbacks and limitations, as do many other examples. Gary Geaves, Apple’s head of acoustics, was interviewed by What HiFi in December of last year. The discussion centred on the AirPods, and at one point, Geaves speculated that Bluetooth might be holding the Apple headphones back. Wireless technology is obviously important for the information delivery you mention, but it’s also important to consider factors like the amount of latency you get when you move your head and whether it’s too long.

Possibly related to that statement, a brand new Apple patent, spotted by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac), has surfaced. It reveals the tech giant is considering implementing optical audio transmission in one of the versions of its upcoming AR/VR headset to battle the bandwidth limitations of Bluetooth. What is optical audio transmission? Optical audio transmission is a way to send audio data via an optical signal. In a more conventional scenario, this technology is used alongside an optical cable, which safely carries the information from the source to the receiver.

Apple plans to utilize this tech in a way that requires it to be wireless as the signal is shown to travel between the AR/VR headset and a pair of Apple AirPods. However, this task becomes difficult without the cable to protect the signal from being interrupted. Image from the patent illustrating how the technology is supposed to work. – Apple patents new tech to potentially battle Bluetooth limitations. Image from the patent illustrating how the technology is supposed to work.

Imagine turning on a laser, which goes from one side of the room to the other. In this instance, the laser is the transmitter, the red light coming out of it is the audio information, and the wall on the other side it’s hitting is the receiver. If you were to place your hand in front of the laser, the information would not reach the receiver. Thankfully, things get easier with a shorter distance between transmitter and receiver. Even that could pose a challenge, however, so Apple has added Bluetooth in its patent, which would likely aid in situations where the optical signal gets intercepted. While all of this seems cool and exciting, keep in mind that very few patents make it to an actual product. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see creative ideas such as this.

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