Damn you, Indecision!

My silly idea for an iPhone feature

I keep forgetting to post about this idea I had for an iPhone feature. Well, here it is. Essentially I want any audio to be piped into the phone’s earpiece if the phone detects that you’re holding it up to your face. For example, if you’re listening to a podcast or some streaming music via the speaker (if you have headphones plugged in, this feature wouldn’t kick in) and you put the phone up to your face, the audio should stop playing out of the speaker and start playing in the earpiece. Once you take the phone away from your face, it could continue playing out the speaker. Or you could configure it to pause the audio when you take the phone away from your face (if possible) and ask you where you’d like the audio to output to. I don’t have fine details all worked out. 🙂

The main impetus for wanting this feature is that sometimes I listen to podcasts during my commute and want to continue listening while walking to my desk, but I don’t necessarily want to put on my earbuds. Another time, I went on a short walk around the campus at work but forgot my earbuds. The speaker was too weak for me to hear outside. At least if I had had the option to pipe the audio through the phone earpiece I could’ve listened to the podcast a little bit that way.

This feature could also be useful if you’re in a public place like a store and you want to listen to a track sample from the iTunes store, or listen to some music or podcasts while you’re walking around, but you want to remain aware of your surroundings. You could also use it when you’re faking being on a phone call to avoid talking to someone. At least then you’d be listening to something. 😀

Of course you wouldn’t want to use this method of listening to audio for too long, since your arm would get tired. 🙂 But for short stints I think it could be a useful feature. Preferably it would work beyond the iPod app, so that you could have this functionality with apps that stream music, or as I mentioned before, the iTunes store. Of course this functionality could be obviated by being able to stream audio to a Bluetooth headset, but I personally don’t use a BT headset so I’d still want this feature. The phone part of the iPhone is actually the least used feature for me. I mainly use it as an always-on Internet tablet, and/or my media player, so while I lust a little bit over some BT headsets or BT headphones, I really don’t need them, hence my idea to “repurpose” the phone earpiece.

So what do you think? Completely silly, or possibly a feature you’d use?


2 responses

  1. I was leaning toward silly, but I did used to listen to podcasts and music on one earphone every now and then. Plus, expanding the iPod/music functionality to work via the earpiece is one step away from expanding it to Bluetooth phone headsets, which would be useful for me. (iPhone BT support is currently limited to phone only.)

    January 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm

  2. I wonder if the SDK allows 3rd-party apps enough access to write an app that will pipe the audio to the earpiece as I described… I wonder if I could cobble something together?

    January 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm

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