Apple may not be an audio company, but by way of their EarPods that come packaged with every iPhone, they produce more headphones than almost anyone else. Today they were just granted a patent that could make their headphones different than everyone else’s. US Patent no. 20120281850 describes headphones that have cups that swivel 180 degrees (which is already done often) but it combines it with two different modes: a speaker mode and headphones mode. An amplifier in the headphones would turn up the volume when the unit would be in speaker mode, and when they were on somebody’s head, it would go into headphone mode to save his eardrums.
Considering that most tablets have terrible, weak speakers, this would be a pretty cool cost-saving measure, and a real reason to buy expensive headphones from Apple.