December 23rd 2007
By Mike Flaminio
Apple has filed a patent for an automatic volume, most likely to be employed in iPod and iPhone, The Telegraph
Excessively-loud volumes on MP3 players has long been a cause for concern. In France, Apple was forced to reduce the maximum decibel output on the iPod in order to comply with health and safety regulations. Medical professionals have frequently voiced concern about gradual hearing damage as a consequence of sustained periods of listening to loud music.
The Apple patent could see iPods and iPhones calculating how long a person has been listening to music and at what volumes and reduce the level automatically during subsequent sessions.
Apple's patent states that "Since the damaging effects on users' hearing is both gradual and cumulative, even those users who are concerned about hearing loss may not behave in a manner that would limit or minimize such damaging effects."
Most MP3 players, including the iPod, can deliver volumes of up to 115db, the equivalent of listening to a chain saw or a rock concert. A number of players can reportedly exceed 120db.
Analysis: Anticipating future lawsuits? How about users taking some personal responsibility and not pumping up the volume to 11? Apart from which, do they really want people to know they're listening to Manilow? Then there are the 'compressed' albums that were released at ultra-high volumes, like some of Oasis's; as one reviewer once said of Iggy Pop's Lust For Life, now there's one album that could rattle the trash can lids and set every neighborhood cat off. Especially at 120db...