Patents show Microsoft planned to enable users to plug Zune into headphones

The human race enjoys shoving plastic and metal into (or around) the ear, but a new patent shows just what Microsoft had in mind to make this more enjoyable for those who listen to music while on the go. Think headphones, think Zune, now think of both of those connected as one, slapped on top of your skull.

As one can see in the above image, the headphones enable the user to connect a Zune music player to the side, while the opposite connector is free for rechargeable battery packs, storage extensions, WiFi adapters, and more. The Zune device looks to be a fairly minute music player, presumably along the dimensions of the Apple iPod Nano.

According to the documentation, the headphones could also house controls to operate peripherals, not to mention an optional microphone and even USB ports. It's an interesting concept that allows the consumer to personalise the headphones to suit the individual needs.

The only downside is this patent was filled back in 2008 and we know that Zune hardware is no longer with us. Who knows, perhaps Microsoft also planned to include voice control - "Beam me up Ballmer!"

Source: Engadget, via: Being Manan

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Hmm... I dunno how this would be GREAT... Is a good idea but... Bluetooth devices seem to be better, my Motorola S-9 and S-10HD both have buttons to Play/Pause, Skip Fwd/Back, Raise/Lower volume, Answer a call, and if you press the Answer button for 3 seconds, voice input begins on my phone and I can send commands that way...
    Dont get me wrong, this is still interesting but... we know the ZUNE was killed off... Are they going to be making an Xbox Music device? That would be something to see...
    Guess we are headed back to the days when the Headsets used to have a Radio Built In... Remember those? I still have a set in a box in the attic somewhere (Late 80's Early 90's status)... jejeje
  • Is it really efficient??
    Maybe i saw similar one headphone that can dock iPod
  • Not a bad idea... a better idea would've been to release Zune in other countries. That kinda helps.
  • Have to agree with @schlubadub, I wanted a Zune HD but 2 things held me back, 1 I couldn't buy it in Canada and 2, no good car stereo integration.
  • Microsoft needs to bring back the Zune MP3 player.
  • I agree. I'm still using my original 80GB version, but the battery life is getting shorter and shorter lately. I would love to be able to buy a new one. 
  • The only thing with this is you cannot see the screen to chose your next song. And if you take it out to look at your library, the music would stop. I'm glad they didn't make this, it seems to be flawed by design.
  • Is there anyone on this planet that chooses to play a single song at a time? I'm pretty sure shuffling songs was available around 15 years ago. But you're right that the interface is retarded... if you could control it with your mobile it might be okay, but if you're going to go that far they might as wel be bluetooth headphones
  • Now I miss my Zune HD
  • Have a Sony Walkman now, but wish I had my old Zune player back.
  • You guys must also have belt clips for your phones if you think this is cool
  • This would have been sweet for home entertainment:)
  • My ears could use a squircle.
  • Bluetooth audio is no match for wired headphones. I thought of this idea back when I got my first Gen iPod nano - could never understand why we didn't see these things.
    MSoft needs to do two things - Drop the Windows name which is Consumer poison, and sell a music player that integrates into the Win 8/Surface/WinPhone ecosystem. Just please, fire your Branding Group and hire someone who can come up with a decent name! Microsoft "Surf" sounds great to me. SurfPhone, SurfPlayer, Surface Tabket, Surface PC anyone?
  • Ballmer is the Branding Group.  He won't let Windows go away.  I've always felt that if they removed Microsoft and Windows from the phone it would have been more successful.  I guess we'll see with Windows 8 and WP8.  Maybe the Windows brand makes a comeback here.
  • There were several models of headphones like this into which you could directly plug an iPod shuffle