Apple’s clever patent turns the watch into a volume knob.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The new patent would be useful in a number of situations. Like say you’re at a noisy party, the iPhone stuffed in your pocket, or purse, would know to boost the volume so you can hear when someone’s calling. It’d be handy when you’re in a quiet location too and don’t want your iPhone to destroy the zen of the silence.
Apple could also use the patent to increase or shorten then distance it takes for a users to activate ‘Hey, Siri’. There’s also some wording about changing other characteristics and settings using the same process, so it could become a wide-reaching feature.
Data from the Apple Watch can be used to detect iPhone’s orientation relative to the user’s body, as well as whether it’s in a pocket or stuffed in a bag. The patent was filed back in March 2014 before the Apple Watch was even announced, but one big problem that could prevent it from becoming a public feature is Apple Watch’s tiny battery can barely survive a full-day of displaying notifications. Sampling ambient audio all day would kill it even quicker.