iPod Patent Turns the Volume Down, Annoys You No End

Illustration for article titled iPod Patent Turns the Volume Down, Annoys You No End

A recently uncovered Apple patent details the possibility for automatic volume control in iPods, which we assume Apple hopes will safeguard them from legal action, whilst protecting the hearing of frequent users. The safety measure will determine how long the music player has been in use, and at what volume; if it considers these facts to be detrimental to one's hearing, the volume will be turned down automatically. Further, the music player will be able to calculate the optimum amount of "quiet time" from when the iPod is switched off, to when it is restarted. If enough time has elapsed, the volume will be able to be increased without automatic control. It is a great idea to protect the hearing of the youth, but...

This would royally piss us off. We are not kidding, we know it would ultimately be implemented to protect people's hearing, but we would rather make our own volume based decisions. If there is no option to turn the function off, we consider the new technology massively flawed. If there is an option to turn the function off, we consider the new technology massively flawed. In short, we really cannot see the utility of this function. (Perhaps it would be useful with a parental lock?)

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This certainly is not the first time Apple has tried to instigate volume control, but it is the first attempt that seems to be completely automatic. We are guessing that will not be the case, a PMP you cannot control the volume on seems just a little limited to us. [The Telegraph]

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DISCUSSION

Its curious that people aren't more concerned about this—especially in naturally loud places such as NYC. SPLs of 95 are common in subway cars and around 110 aren't uncommon on loud platforms like the 4,5,6 in Union Square.

These levels are dangerous and trying to listen to music over these levels is even more dangerous.

That being said there is a chance that auto volume adjustment would render Ipods unusable in certain circumstances such as these—whether or not its safe for users at these volumes.

@ ALDENF82

Sound Check measures RMS so music with naturally large dynamic range (such as anything made over 15 years ago or classical music, jazz) will be perceived as quieter. This does not exactly correlate to hearing damage risk as peak volumes will still be at 0 or -.1 db. Inherently low headphone volumes are because of impedance— where higher impedance results in lower volumes. Pro-Audio gear can adjust for this so i assume that something similar could be implemented in MP3 players.