Apple ‘directional audio interface’ patent applications describes multitouch for the ears

“Apple has worked on “directional audio” technology, specifically employed as an audio user interface, allowing users to make selections and navigate menus based on audio cues in a three-dimensional surround sound environment,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office named ‘Directional Audio Interface for Portable Media Device,'” Hughes reports. “Discovered by AppleInsider, the filing shows Apple’s interest in creating advanced portable devices and accompanying headphones to augment the user interface of the device.”

Hughes reports, “The concept includes one or more ‘audible control nodes,’ which are perceived by the user through sound to be located at different points around them. Like the multitouch interface Apple popularized with the iPhone, it’s a new twist on an existing way to interact with a portable device, far more advanced than the Voice Over controls featured on the iPod touch.”

More info, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wow, just point or gesture to where you hear it and it happens! This could be a boon to the blind community, runners, drivers… anyone who needs to control their devices non-visually and silently, too. Just imagine the possibilities!


  1. With Bluetooth headsets, we got people walking down the street apparently talking to themselves.

    Now we’re going to get people walking down the street randomly gesticulating.

    Soon it’s going to be even harder to distinguish who’s crazy from who’s just on the leading hi-tech edge. If there’s a difference.

    1. i may have to litigate: I patented fake Bluetooth headsets for winos to make them seem like eccentric millionaires swearing at their broker, and therefore less intimidating

  2. The linked article refers to audio cues being delivered in a three dimensional space.

    If those audible cues are being delivered by earbuds, I fail to see how the third dimension can be created. It will just be a 2D soundfield. However that’s not in any way to denigrate the idea, which is excellent. It’s probably a journalist being a little over-excited.

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