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Patent shows AirPods may get biometric improvements, noise canceling




Image: lili sams/mashable

We’re starting to learn more about what the rumored 2020 AirPods redesign might look like.

A recent Apple patent filing shows how the company may make changes to the AirPods in years to come. Spotted by 9to5Mac, the filing contains specs for biometric sensors, noise-canceling, and even the introduction of expandable foam to better fit every ear. 

As with all exciting patent filings, it comes with ~drawings~.

Expandable foam could help redesigned AirPods fit snugly in any ear.

Expandable foam could help redesigned AirPods fit snugly in any ear.

Image: apple/us patent and trademark office

The abstract of the patent focuses on the ability of a biometric sensor that sits close to the skin to adjust its output based on its location. That is, AirPods could be worn “interchangeably,” and determine what to play, when to stop, and other features, based on its proximity to its human. That could even include noise cancelation. From the patent:

Multi-sensor earbud 1000 can include many operational states including, for example, a media playback mode, a standby mode, a disabled mode and a noise cancelling mode. When the power management utility determines multi-sensor earbud 1000 is no longer being worn it can be configured to change the operational state from the playback or noise cancelling mode to the standby or disabled mode.

To achieve this, biometric sensors need to be accurate, which means they need to be placed close to the tragus (the part of the ear that sticks out from the side of your head). Hence the possibility of expandable foam, in multiple variations, to make sure the AirPod fits in snugly. 



Ming-Chi Kuo foretold that Apple would release redesigned AirPods for 2020, though he didn’t specify what that redesign would look like. Some have been expecting updates, but been disappointed that Tim Cook and his cronies were mum about AirPods at both fall Apple events.

Thanks to the patent, we may know a bit more about what changes are coming. We just have to wait a while longer to actually see them.

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