Apple Patent Shows How Its Future Hardware Can Be Unified for a Smarter Home

Asian man controlling smarthome devices

Apple devices already work well together with features like handoff, but a recent patent from the company shows how things can be taken a bit further in the future. Spotted by Apple Insider, the patent for “home sound localization and identification” reveals Apple researchers are considering how future Apple products could recognize sounds and environments. More importantly, how they can also send alerts to other devices simultaneously for a smarter home and to solve everyday problems.

Not all patents make their way to future products or services, but this one is pretty cool, to say the least. It envisions a time when devices have a processor with more location awareness in a home, essentially building on what Apple already accomplished with the HomePod and HomePod Mini, where the devices can detect smoke alarms.

“The processor can be configured to determine a physical location of origin of the sound based at least in part on the received signal,” mentions the authors of the patent.

Apple’s patent even mentions that many smart devices are already prevalent in our homes but don’t necessarily work together. “Current devices may not be able to utilize this computing power and information to provide solutions to many problems and questions a user may experience in day-to-day life.” It goes on to detail the solution, the cross-device aspect side of things, and sending signals across devices. “In use, one or more of the devices can detect a sound and transmit one or more signals corresponding to the detected sound to the processor.”

The patent even goes as far as to say “a need exists to use the capabilities and ubiquity of electronic devices in new ways to solve heretofore unaddressed everyday problems.”

Putting this into a real situation, you might envision things working with a future Apple Watch, iPads, and iPhones, for example. You could be using an iPad for cooking in your kitchen, and it recognizes the sounds of boiling water and can send a notification to your Apple watch about the matter, while you’re busy in another room of your house. In the patent, Apple says, “Additional information that can be collected or received by the system, such as the locations of users or objects in the space, the time of day, and/or calendar events.”

Some other interesting aspects of the patent highlight health aspects, like ” positive feedback to individuals using technology to pursue wellness goals.” It’s cool to see Apple consider such technologies to help its devices work better together, but you might not want to get your hopes up. Just because something is patented, it doesn’t always become a reality, but it does show how seriously Apple is taking smart devices.

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