According to a newly discovered patent, Apple may be working on a model of AirPods that shouldn’t be placed in the ear. The patent, titled “Warmer with Directional Audio”, was found by PatentlyApple. The document describes a headset, if you can call it that, that allows you to listen to music without the user having to wear the device to the ear and being cut off from what’s going on around them.
In the submitted patent, Apple describes a wearable audio device capable of delivering sound to the ears without the user having to wear it anywhere near their face. One image shows this type of AirPod stuck to the collar of a shirt, with sound waves reaching the wearer’s ears.
The audio waves produced by the device are routed through a parametric set of speakers, designed to prevent sound from reaching other people, while remaining loud and clear for the user. Similar systems already exist on the market, as in glasses with an audio system.
According to the patent, the parametric set of loudspeakers must radiate beams composed of sound waves directed at the user’s ears. Beamforming technology allows the device to also simulate a directional microphone. This means that the device will be able to support calls as well as conventional AirPods, which isolate the user’s voice from ambient sounds in calls.
Well, it is worth pointing out that not all patents end up on paper. But if Apple does achieve the technology for an AirPod that doesn’t need to be placed in the ear, it could change the headphone market as we know it.
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