One of the problems with using an iPod and listening to some of your favorite music is that you may not realize when the music volume is too loud and liable to hurt your ears. Apple initially did not care too much about this particular problem, but then got hit with a class-action lawsuit over hearing loss caused due to a person. The claim was that the highest level of volume possible in a iPod was enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Apple had at that time responded by releasing a patch that allows users to set a maximum level of volume, but after that, there was no further news in this regard.
However, now Apple seems to have moved further in this direction, and it would now seem that Apple is developing a device that would allow the iPod itself to calculate how long the user has been listening to the iPod and at what volume, and then automatically reduce the volume. Refer this article.
Citing a new patent application, the report--to which Apple declined to comment--says the "device will also calculate the amount of 'quiet time' between when the iPod is turned off and when it is restarted, allowing the volume to be increased again to a safe level."
This could be interesting. Granted, it would be a useful step, but imagine the surprise when a user listening to the device for some time suddenly feels the volume level dropping suddenly. Could be shocking unless the user knows that something like this is going to happen. And unless this is handled right, it could affect all the people who use an iPod as the base for all their music; they connect the iPod to a music system. Such a modification of the volume could also affect them negatively.