Apple Patent Shows iPod nano Clip Speaker

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A just published patent application shows Apple may be planning on adding a speaker to the diminutive iPod nano and iPod shuffle, too. Instead of packing a speaker inside those tiny cases, however, Apple will build them as part of the iPod’s clip.

Apple patent application with iPod nano speakerApple’s patent application shows an iPod nano with a built-in speaker

Both the iPod nano and shuffle include small clips on their backs to attach them to belts and clothes, which is convenient since that’s where the uber-small speakers will sit.

The speaker itself will include materials that were designed for the Apollo moon missions, and will fit in a recessed area on the clip. The patent doesn’t limit the design to a specific speaker type, although Apple does show a piezoelectric speaker in some of its descriptions.

And that space age material Apple referenced? It’s Kapton, a material designed by DuPont that’s been used in the outer layer of NASA spacesuits, and as thermal insulation on the lunar module astronauts used to land on the moon.

iPod nano clip speaker close upA closer look at the iPod nano clip speaker design

Adding a speaker to the iPod nano and iPod shuffle won’t turn them into audiophile dream machines, but it would make them more versatile since users could play music, or listen to podcasts and possibly even radio without always using headphones.

Applying for a patent, however, doesn’t necessarily mean Apple will be adding a speaker to its nano and shuffle, but it does give us an idea of what might be in store for future models.

[Thanks to Patently Apple for the heads up.]

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Adding a speaker to its nano takes us a step closer to an Apple version of the Dick Tracy 2-way wrist radio—65 years later.

LG and HP apparently already have such a device under development, but I haven’t heard of sales to the public.

Lee Dronick

Opinions of audiophiles not withstanding I am very impressed with the sound coming out of these wee speakers in iPhones, iPads, and portable devices in general. Yes, I know that they are all that spec worthy, but they do the job for which they are intended and then some.

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