The point behind the silent mode on phones is to prevent it from ringing in situations where keeping silent is necessary. This could be during meetings, during the movies, while attending a lecture, on a date and etc. Unfortunately due to the vibration built into our phones and depending on the surface on which you place your phone, sometimes having the phone vibrate against the table loudly is as good as your phone not being on silent, and this is apparently an issue that Apple could be looking into. In a recently discovered patent, it seems that Apple is investigating a means to suppress the noise created by the iPhone when it vibrates.
By utilizing visual, movement and audio sensors, the iPhone will be able to monitor its environment when it starts vibrating. This allows the iPhone to detect when its vibrations cause movement (e.g. vibrating so violently that it moves across the table), or if its vibration is actually louder than its ambient noise (i.e. during a seminar when suddenly you can hear the buzzing of a phone going off in the back row). Once those thresholds have been met, a mitigation mechanism will kick in which will either adjust the vibration to a lesser degree, or halt the alert altogether. It sounds like an interesting idea – what do you guys think?