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Apple was granted a new patent this week that hints at some of the most likely new features that we might see in AirPods of the future. Probably the most interesting aspect of the patent is the interchangeable earbuds fitted with one or more biometric sensors that are able to detect which ear it is placed in and adjust sound accordingly.
Apple has been doing research for a long time to try to find the perfect universal shape to fit all ears. The firm eventually settled on the current version, but future versions might be shaped differently.
Although the three-part setup of today’s AirPods is quite easy to make and also environmentally friendly, transforming AirPods from a separate right/left unit to a singular component could reduce costs and make it simpler to get a replacement AirPod.
The news about the patent comes only days after Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple will release updated AirPods during Q1 2019 that will feature wireless charging. It’s very likely that these updated AirPods will aim to improve on the present design.
The patent, however, shows that in 2020 and after that, Apple wants to create the perfect earbud that fits all ears, with a variety of biometric sensors that can not only detect ear placement but also track health measurements.
Among others, the patent touches on how biometric sensors have to be pressed tightly against the skin for optimum performance, and some of the designs show how foam can be used to achieve this. This, of course, departs from the conventional plastic moulds that Apple has so far been using in both AirPods and EarPods.
Sensors and their ability to detect both placement and surrounding are a vital aspect of what Apple envisages for future AirPods. The patent further mentions the ability to take sound from a multi-channel source and then single-channel that to an individual bud.