Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro might one day be able to detect and respond to gestures, as hinted by a new patent filing (number 20200344536) for a “wearable interactive audio device.”
In the patent filing, Apple saysthat many traditional earbuds (which would be the AirPods and AirPods Air) suffer from significant drawbacks that may limit the ability to control sounds, or other outputs, at the earbud. In many cases, the earbud requires a hardwired connection that physically couples the earbud to another device and the sound is controlled based on input received at the device.
What’s more, earbuds and/or other connected devices may be unresponsive to voice commands, thereby limiting the adaptability of the earbud to control multiple types of functions. Apple’s solution: having AirPods and AirPods Pro respond to gestures.
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “The earbud may be configured to detect input using various sensors and structures. For example, the earbud may be configured to detect gestures, physical manipulations, and so forth performed along or on the earbud. In response to the detected inputs, the earbud may be configured to change various outputs, such as an audio output or a haptic output of the device. The earbud may also include a microphone to register voice commands. In some cases, the microphone may be used to control the earbud using the registered voice command in response to one or more detected gestures or physical manipulations.”