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Title:
HEADPHONES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/100081
Kind Code:
A4
Abstract:
This disclosure includes several different features suitable for use in circumaural and supra-aural headphones designs. Designs that include earpad assemblies that improve acoustic isolation are discussed. User convenience features that include automatically detecting the orientation of the headphones on a user's head are also discussed. Various power-saving features, design features, sensor configurations and user comfort features are also discussed.

Inventors:
SIAHAAN, Edward (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
BLOOM, Daniel R. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
LEBLANC, Jason J. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
LI, Tian Shi (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
PANECKI, Lee M. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
QIAN, Phillip (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
SHENG, Audrey L. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
WHANG, Eugene Antony (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
KOLE, Jared M. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
DOCHERTY, Sean J. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
ILKORUR, Onur I. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
HELLWIG, Alex C. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
HEWITT, Oliver M. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
KUBOYAMA, Yuta (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
ERICKSON, Christopher S. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
KADETOTAD, Sneha (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
CORONA APARICIO, Edwin J. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
MINERBI, Mike B. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
TIKANDER, Miikka O. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
SHAFFER, Benjamin A. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
WRIGHT, Derek W. (3436 19th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110, US)
ANDERSEN, Esge B. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
ANANTHARAMAN, Rajesh (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
MATTINGLEY, Jacob E. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
LIN, Tsu-Hui (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
ZUPKE, Robert D. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
HATFIELD, Dustin A. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
PATEL, Axit H. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
Application Number:
US2018/062143
Publication Date:
July 25, 2019
Filing Date:
November 20, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
APPLE INC. (One Apple Park Way, Cupertino, California, 95014, US)
International Classes:
H04R1/10; H04R5/033
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WIGGER, Benjamin D. et al. (KILPATRICK TOWNSEND & STOCKTON LLP, Mailstop: IP Docketing - 221100 Peachtree Street, Suite 280, Atlanta Georgia, 30309, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 17 June 2019 (17.06.19)

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A portable listening device, comprising:

first and second earpieces;

an adjustable length headband assembly coupling the first earpiece to the second earpiece, the adjustable length headband assembly comprising:

a housing component defining an interior volume; and

a hollow stem coupling the first earpiece to the housing component and being configured to telescope into and out of the interior volume; and a data synchronization cable extending through the hollow stem and the interior volume to electrically couple the first and second earpieces, a coiled portion of the data synchronization cable being disposed within the hollow stem.

2. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein an interior facing surface of the housing component defines interior channels that guide the hollow stem along a predefined path when the hollow stem telescopes into and out of the interior volume.

3. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, further comprising a locking component configured to prevent movement of the hollow stem relative to the housing component.

4. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein a stabilizing element is positioned at a distal end of the hollow stem to reduce an amount of free play between the hollow stem and the housing component.

5. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein the housing component comprises one or more leaf springs configured to exert a force to compress the first and second earpieces against a user’s head.

6. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein the hollow stem and the housing component each have complementary curved geometries configured to conform with a shape of a user’s head.

7. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein the hollow stem is a first hollow stem and the adjustable length headband assembly further comprises a

-1- second hollow stem coupling the second earpiece to the housing component and being configured to telescope into and out of the housing component.

8. The portable listening device as recited in claim 7, wherein the coiled portion is a first coiled portion and the data synchronization cable includes a second coiled portion disposed within the second hollow stem.

9. The portable listening device as recited in claim 1, wherein a distal end of the coiled portion of the data synchronization cable is electrically coupled to a connector disposed at a distal end of the hollow stem which is electrically and mechanically coupled to the first earpiece.

10. Headphones, comprising:

first and second earpieces;

an adjustable length headband assembly coupling the first earpiece to the second earpiece, the adjustable length headband assembly comprising:

a housing component defining an interior volume;

a hollow stem coupling the first earpiece to the housing component and being configured to telescope into and out of the interior volume ; a first stabilizing element disposed at a distal end of the hollow stem; a second stabilizing element disposed at a distal end of the housing component; and

a data synchronization cable extending through both the hollow stem and the interior volume to electrically couple the first and second earpieces.

11. The headphones as recited in claim 10, wherein a coiled portion of the data synchronization cable is disposed within the hollow stem.

12. The headphones as recited in claim 10, wherein the adjustable length headband assembly further comprises a first bearing element adjacent to the first stabilizing element, wherein the first stabilizing element has a larger diameter and is formed from a less compliant material than the first bearing element.

13. The headphones as recited in claim 12, wherein the adjustable length headband assembly further comprises a second bearing element adjacent to the second

-2- stabilizing element, wherein the second stabilizing element has a larger diameter and is formed from a less compliant material than the second bearing element.

14. The headphones as recited in claim 12, wherein the adjustable length headband assembly further comprises a funnel element adjacent to the first stabilizing element and configured to align coils of a coiled portion of the data synchronization cable when the hollow stem telescopes into the interior volume.

15. The headphones as recited in claim 10, wherein the housing component comprises an upper housing component and a lower housing component, the lower housing component being coupled to the upper housing component and defining the interior volume.

16. The headphones as recited in claim 10, wherein the first stabilizing element comprises radial stabilizing elements that engage lengthwise channels defined by the housing component.

17 . An adjustable length headband assembly for coupling together a first earpiece and a second earpiece, the adjustable length headband assembly comprising:

a housing component having a first end and a second end opposite the first end;

a first hollow stem configured to telescope into and out of the first end of the housing component;

a second hollow stem configured to telescope into and out of the second end of the housing component; and

a data synchronization cable extending through the first hollow stem, the interior volume and the second hollow stem, the data synchronization cable comprising:

a first coiled portion proximate a first end of the data synchronization cable and disposed within the first hollow stem; and

a second coiled portion proximate a second end of the data synchronization cable and disposed within the second hollow stem.

18. The adjustable length headband assembly as recited in claim 17, wherein a distal end of the first hollow stem comprises a funnel element configured to align coils of the first coiled portion.

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19. The adjustable length headband assembly as recited in claim 18, wherein the funnel element comprises a radial stabilizing element that is engaged with a lengthwise channel defined by the housing component. 20. The adjustable length headband assembly as recited in claim 18, wherein the hollow stem further comprises a stabilizing element having a larger diameter than the funnel element and formed from more compliant materials than the funnel element. 21. A portable listening device, comprising:

an earpiece, comprising:

an earpiece housing; and

a latching mechanism disposed within the earpiece housing, the latching mechanism having a latch plate defining an aperture and a switch configured to shift a position of the latch plate from a first position to a second position; and a headband assembly coupled to the earpiece by the latching mechanism, the headband assembly comprising a stem base positioned at a first end of the headband assembly, the stem base extending through the aperture. 22. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein the portable listening device comprises over ear headphones. 23. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein the earpiece further comprises an earpad assembly and wherein the switch is concealed beneath the earpad assembly. 24. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein the aperture is an asymmetric aperture. 25. The portable listening device as recited in claim 23, wherein actuation of the switch releases the stem base from the latching mechanism. 26. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein the latch plate comprises a post and wherein the latching mechanism further comprises a retaining spring configured to apply a retaining force to the post to shift the latch plate from the second position to the first position.

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27. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein the latching mechanism further comprises a latch lever configured to redirect a first amount of force received from the switch in a first direction as a second amount of force in a second direction at the latch plate.

28. The portable listening device as recited in claim 27, wherein the latch lever comprises a torsion spring that opposes actuation of the switch.

29. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, wherein a first arm of the torsion spring engages the earpiece housing and a second end of the torsion spring engages the latch lever.

30. The portable listening device as recited in claim 21, further comprising a pivot mechanism configured to accommodate rotation of the earpiece relative to the headband assembly in two or more different directions.

31. The portable listening device as recited in claim 30, wherein the latching mechanism is coupled directly to the pivot mechanism.

32. The portable listening device as recited in claim 31, further comprising a plug receptacle coupled to the latching mechanism such that the latching mechanism is positioned between the plug receptacle and the pivot mechanism.

33. An earpiece, comprising:

an earpiece housing defining a stem opening;

a speaker disposed within the earpiece housing; and

a latching mechanism disposed within the earpiece housing, the latching mechanism having a latch plate defining an asymmetric aperture and a switch configured to shift a position of the latch plate from a first position in which a first portion of the asymmetric aperture is aligned with the stem opening to a second position in which a second portion of the asymmetric aperture is aligned with the stem opening,

wherein the first portion of the asymmetric aperture is smaller than the second portion.

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34. The earpiece as recited in claim 33, further comprising a plug receptacle coupled to the latching mechanism, the latching mechanism being positioned between the stem opening and the plug receptacle. 35. The earpiece as recited in claim 33, wherein the latching mechanism comprises a latch body having a circular geometry configured to accommodate rotation of a stem about its longitudinal axis when the stem is secured within the latching mechanism. 36. The earpiece as recited in claim 33, wherein when the latching mechanism is in the second position, the latching mechanism is configured to engage a narrow neck of a stem inserted into the latching mechanism to oppose removal of the stem from the latching mechanism. 37. The headphones as recited in claim 33, wherein the latch plate comprises a post and wherein the latching mechanism further comprises a retaining spring configured to apply a retaining force to the post to shift the latch plate from the second position to the first position. 38. The headphones as recited in claim 33, wherein the switch is a vertical switch. 39. The headphones as recited in claim 38, wherein the vertical switch comprises an engaging member having a slanted distal end configured to engage a post of a force translation member. 40. The headphones as recited in claim 33, wherein the switch is a horizontal switch. 41. An earpiece, comprising:

a housing defining a cavity for accommodating an ear of a user; an active noise cancelling system;

an annular earpad coupled to the housing; and

a textile layer wrapped around the annular earpad, the textile layer including a first region and a second region, the first region having a lower porosity than the second region of the textile layer.

-6-

42. The earpiece as recited in claim 41, wherein the textile layer is formed from a single layer of material and the porosity of the first region is lowered by applying a heat treatment to the first region. 43. The earpiece as recited in claim 41, wherein the annular earpad has an undercut geometry. 44. The earpiece as recited in claim 41, wherein the annular earpad has an asymmetric geometry that conforms with cranial contours of a head of the user. 45. The earpiece as recited in claim 41, wherein the active noise cancelling system comprises a microphone disposed within the earpiece, and wherein the housing defines an audio entrance opening for the microphone that is laterally offset from the microphone. 46. The earpiece as recited in claim 45, wherein the housing comprises an aluminum housing component that defines the audio entrance opening. 47. The earpiece as recited in claim 41, wherein the cavity has an undercut geometry that is cooperatively defined by the annular earpad and the housing. 48. A portable listening device, comprising:

an earpiece housing defining a cavity for accommodating an ear of a user; a headband assembly coupled to the earpiece housing;

an active noise cancelling system;

an earpad assembly coupled to the earpiece housing; and

a textile layer wrapped around the earpad assembly, the textile layer including a first region and a second region, the first region having a lower porosity than the second region of the textile layer. 49. The portable listening device as recited in claim 48, wherein the first region has an annular geometry positioned over a portion of the textile layer positioned along a periphery of the earpad assembly to improve passive noise attenuation characteristics of the earpad assembly.

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50. The portable listening device as recited in claim 48, wherein the earpad is an annular earpad.

51. The portable listening device as recited in claim 50, wherein the annular earpad has a non-rectangular cross-sectional geometry.

52. The portable listening device as recited in claim 50, wherein the earpad assembly comprises a compliant structural member that couples the annular earpad to the earpiece housing.

53. The portable listening device as recited in claim 48, wherein the earpad has a tear-shaped cross-sectional geometry.

54. The portable listening device as recited in claim 48, wherein the earpad covers a release switch configured to separate the earpiece housing from the headband assembly.

55. Headphones, comprising:

a headband assembly;

an active noise canceling system; and

first and second earpieces coupled to opposing ends of the headband assembly, each of the earpieces comprising:

an earpiece housing;

an earpad assembly coupled to the earpiece housing; and

a textile layer wrapped around the earpad assembly, the textile layer including a first region and a second region, the first region having a lower porosity than the second region of the textile layer.

56. The headphones as recited in claim 55, wherein the earpad assembly comprises a cushion formed from foam.

57. The headphones as recited in claim 55, wherein the active noise cancelling system comprises a first microphone disposed within the first earpiece and a second microphone disposed within the second earpiece.

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58. The headphones as recited in claim 55, wherein the earpiece housing comprises an aluminum housing component. 59. The headphones as recited in claim 55, wherein the earpad assembly comprises a cushion and a compliant structural layer that couples the cushion to the earpiece housing. 60. The headphones as recited in claim 59, wherein the cushion has a non- rectangular geometry. 61. A portable listening device, comprising:

a first earpiece;

a second earpiece;

a headband assembly coupling the first earpiece to the second earpiece;

a magnetic field sensor assembly disposed within the first earpiece and configured to measure an amount of rotation of the first earpiece relative to the headband assembly; and

a processor configured to change an operating state of the portable listening device based on the amount of rotation measured by the magnetic field sensor assembly. 62. The portable listening device as recited in claim 61, wherein at least a portion of the magnetic field sensor assembly is coupled to a portion of a stem of the headband assembly and disposed within the first earpiece. 63. The portable listening device as recited in claim 61, wherein the processor is configured to change the operating state when the measured amount of rotation exceeds a predetermined threshold. 64. The portable listening device as recited in claim 62, wherein the magnetic field sensor assembly comprises: first and second permanent magnets coupled to the portion of the stem; and a magnetic field sensor coupled to a housing of the first earpiece. 65. The portable listening device as recited in claim 62, wherein the magnetic field sensor assembly comprises: a magnetic field sensor coupled to the portion of the stem; and first and second permanent magnets coupled to a housing of the first earpiece.

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66. The portable listening device as recited in claim 64, wherein a polarity of a first magnetic field emitted by the first permanent magnet is oriented in a first direction and a polarity of a second magnetic field emitted by the second permanent magnet is oriented in a second direction opposite the first direction. 67. The portable listening device as recited in claim 61, wherein the processor is configured to control the operating state based on the amount of rotation measured by the magnetic field sensor assembly, the magnetic field sensor assembly being configured to identify three or more different locations of the headband assembly relative to the first earpiece. 68. The portable listening device as recited in claim 63, wherein the headphones enter a low power state when the amount of rotation detected by the magnetic field sensor assembly is below the predetermined threshold. 69. The portable listening device as recited in claim 61, further comprising an optical sensor assembly disposed within the first earpiece and configured to direct light waves at an ear of a user, wherein the processor is configured to confirm the change in operating state based on output from the optical sensor assembly. 70. The portable listening device as recited in claim 61, wherein the portable listening device comprises headphones. 71. A carrying case, comprising:

a case housing defining first and second earpiece recesses configured to receive first and second earpieces of corresponding headphones; and

a permanent magnet positioned adjacent to a portion of the first earpiece recess corresponding to the first earpiece of the corresponding headphones, the permanent magnet being positioned to emit a magnetic field configured to interact with a sensor within the first earpiece of the headphones. 72. The carrying case as recited in claim 71, wherein the magnetic field emitted by the permanent magnet includes one or more characteristics detectable by the sensor within the first earpiece.

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73. The carrying case as recited in claim 71, wherein the first and second earpiece recesses are configured to receive respective first and second earcups of the corresponding headphones.

74. The carrying case as recited in claim 71, further comprising capacitive elements arranged in a pattern within the first earpiece recess.

75. The carrying case as recited in claim 74, further comprising a protrusion extending from a central portion of the first earpiece recess, wherein the capacitive element are arranged across a distal end of the protrusion.

76. The carrying case as recited in claim 71, wherein the permanent magnet is a first permanent magnet and the carrying case further comprises a second permanent magnet positioned adjacent to the second earpiece recess, the second permanent magnet being positioned to emit a magnetic field that interacts with a sensor within the second earpiece of the headphones.

77. A system, comprising:

a carrying case, comprising:

a case housing defining first and second earcup recesses configured to receive first and second earcups of corresponding headphones, the carrying case comprising a permanent magnet positioned proximate a periphery of the first earcup recess; and

headphones, comprising:

first and second earpieces;

a headband assembly coupling the first and second earpieces together; a magnetic field sensor positioned along a periphery of the first earpiece; and

a processor configured to change an operating state of the headphones in response to detecting a magnetic field emitted by the permanent magnet.

78. The system as recited in claim 77, wherein the headphones further comprise an ambient light sensor, wherein the processor is configured to change the operating

-11- state of the headphones to a low power state in response to detecting the magnetic field and receiving low light readings from the ambient light sensor.

79. The system as recited in claim 77, wherein the permanent magnet is a first permanent magnet and wherein the headphones further comprises a second permanent magnet disposed within the second earpiece, wherein the processor is further configured to change an operating state of the headphones in response to the magnetic field sensor detecting a magnetic field emitted by the second permanent magnet.

80. The system as recited in claim 77, wherein the headphones further comprise a capacitive sensor assembly and the carrying case further comprises capacitive elements configured to contact the capacitive sensor assembly and wherein the processor is configured to place the headphones in a low power state in response to the capacitive sensors detecting the capacitive elements.

81. An earpiece, comprising:

an earpiece housing comprising a back wall and side walls that cooperatively define an interior volume;

a speaker assembly disposed within the interior volume, the speaker assembly comprising:

a permanent magnet defining a channel extending therethrough;

a diaphragm; and

an electrically conductive coil coupled to the diaphragm and configured to generate a first magnetic field that interacts with a second magnetic field emitted by the permanent magnet to induce oscillation of the diaphragm; and

a speaker frame member extending across a portion of the back wall of the earpiece housing to further define a rear volume of air that extends through the channel.

82. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein the speaker frame member defines the rear volume such that it extends to a peripheral portion of the earpiece housing that defines an air vent.

83. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein the portion of the back wall is a majority of the back wall.

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84. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein an average distance between the speaker frame member and the back wall of the earpiece housing is about lmm.

85. The earpiece as recited in claim 84, wherein a width of a portion of the rear volume defined by the speaker frame member is about 20mm.

86. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein portions of the speaker frame member are glued to the back wall of the earpiece housing and wherein the rear volume is routed around the portions of the speaker frame member glued to the back wall.

87. The earpiece as recited in claim 86, wherein the earpiece housing defines a narrow vent connected to the rear volume of the speaker assembly that augments performance of the speaker assembly.

88. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein the permanent magnet is a first permanent magnet and the earpiece further comprises a second permanent magnet surrounding the first permanent magnet and cooperatively forming a channel shaped to accommodate the electrically conductive coil.

89. The earpiece as recited in claim 81, wherein the speaker assembly further comprises a mesh layer extending across the channel of the permanent magnet.

90. A portable listening device, comprising:

a headband assembly;

an earpiece housing defining an interior volume, the earpiece housing being coupled to the headband assembly;

a speaker assembly disposed within the interior volume, the speaker assembly comprising:

a diaphragm;

a permanent magnet defining a channel extending therethrough that connects a rear volume of air disposed directly behind the diaphragm to another volume of air extending radially outward from the diaphragm; and an electrically conductive coil coupled to the diaphragm and configured to generate a first magnetic field that interacts with a second

-13- magnetic field emitted by the permanent magnet to induce oscillation of the diaphragm.

91. The portable listening device as recited in claim 90, wherein the other volume of air extends across a majority of a rear wall of the earpiece housing.

92. The portable listening device as recited in claim 90, further comprising a speaker frame member that defines the other volume of air extending radially outward from the diaphragm.

93. The portable listening device as recited in claim 90, wherein the other volume of air extending radially outward from the diaphragm extends connects the rear volume to a vent defined by the earpiece housing.

94. The portable listening device as recited in claim 93, wherein the other volume of air has a width of about 20mm and a height of about lmm.

95. The portable listening device as recited in claim 90, further comprising capacitive sensors disposed within the interior volume, wherein the earpiece housing defines a cavity sized to accommodate an ear of a user, the capacitive sensors being disposed between the speaker assembly and the cavity.

96. The portable listening device as recited in claim 95, wherein the capacitive sensor defines a plurality of openings that facilitate the passage of audio waves through the capacitive sensor.

97. Headphones, comprising:

a first earpiece;

a second earpiece;

headband assembly electrically and mechanically coupling the first and second earpieces; and

a speaker assembly disposed within the first earpiece, the speaker assembly comprising:

a diaphragm;

-14- a permanent magnet defining a channel extending therethrough that connects a rear volume of air disposed directly behind the diaphragm to another volume of air extending radially outward from the diaphragm; and

an electrically conductive coil coupled to the diaphragm and configured to generate a first magnetic field that interacts with a second magnetic field emitted by the permanent magnet to induce oscillation of the diaphragm.

98. The headphones as recited in claim 97, wherein the speaker assembly is a first speaker assembly and the headphones further comprises a second speaker assembly disposed within the second earpiece.

99. The headphones as recited in claim 97, wherein the speaker assembly comprises a speaker frame member extending across a portion of a back wall of an earpiece housing of the first earpiece to define the other volume of air that extends radially outward from the diaphragm.

100. The headphones as recited in claim 97, wherein the permanent magnet is a first permanent magnet and the speaker further comprises a second permanent magnet surrounding the first permanent magnet.

101. An earpiece, comprising:

a housing defining a cavity configured to accommodate an ear of a user; a speaker disposed within the housing;

a first battery disposed within the housing; and

a second battery disposed within the housing, the cavity being positioned between the first and second batteries.

102. The earpiece as recited in claim 37, wherein the first and second batteries are tilted diagonally away from the cavity.

103. The earpiece as recited in claim 37, further comprising third and fourth batteries disposed within the housing.

104. The earpiece as recited in claim 103, wherein the first, second, third and fourth batteries are each discrete battery assemblies.

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