While Apple doesn’t sell its own over-the-ear headphones, the company seems to be working on several ideas. One of those ideas includes equipped headphones with touch gestures, wear detection and orientation detection.
Apple’s wireless earphones business has boomed over the past few years, especially after the launch of the AirPods. The company sells Beats-branded headphones, but the company is yet to launch its own headphones. If the latest patent from the iPhone maker is taken into consideration, it looks like the company is trying to develop headphones that work effortlessly, no matter how a user is wearing them.
According to a patent filed by the company with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), Apple is playing with an idea to determine how a user is wearing their headphones. It can determine whether they’re being worn in a conventional way with the headband on the top or if it is leaning forward or backward for a more comfortable position in certain situations. It can also be determined if the user is wearing headphones with the headband hanging behind the neck.
The solution includes using proximity and capacitive sensors on the inside to determine the position of ears. A touch-sensitive area on the outside can be used for touch gestures to control music playback and adjusting volume levels. Since the position of the ears is determined, touch gestures can be oriented relative to ears. Apple also mentions that optical sensors or structured lighting can be used in place of proximity or capacitive sensors.
In the past, the Cupertin0-based company has filed a patent for headphones that include orientation detection to determine whether a user has worn the headphones in the correct or incorrect way, and then switch left and right audio channels accordingly. Other patents include headphones that could turn into speakers and the ones that have built-in health monitoring features. The company has also filed patents for AR headphones that can offer better conference calls.
Apple files for numerous patents every year and there’s no guarantee that the technology mentioned in this particular makes it to a commercial product. However, if Apple launches its own headphones, it will most probably offer features that are unique and offer better ease-of-use compared to other headphones in the market.
This patent that we’re reporting today seems to involve a complex mechanism to solve a simple problem. What do you think? Does operating headphones ever become a problem for you? Let us know in the comments section below.[Source: USPTO]