Apple is working on a completely revamped design for future AirPods, which can be adjusted into different form factors depending on the use. The new wireless earbuds will have adjustable-shaped housings with bendable portions.
The primary idea is to make suitable changes to the design so that a user can sleep wearing the new AirPods.
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Wearing AirPods to sleep isn’t comfortable for many people
It is challenging to wear the AirPods when trying to sleep. This is expected to change in future versions of the device as Apple is considering a unique design where the user can bend and adjust the AirPods into a ’Sleeping slate’ and use the device comfortably even when sleeping.
Apple’s researchers plan on using bendable metal members, hinges, and other flexible structures to form bendable structures for the earbuds. The housings on the AirPods will be soft to the touch and adjustable in shape and size.
Adjustable AirPods will have two or more states. You can have a normal, non-sleep walking state in which the housing is expanded for normal operation and a sleep state in which the housing is bent to enhance comfort while sleeping.
Changes surrounding this new AirPods design were seen from a patent approved today. The new patent ‘Earbuds’ was filed on August 20, 2021, and was approved today.
New and Exciting sensors on the Adjustable AirPods
The new patent showcases some thoughts around advanced sensors that Apple plans to utilize in the next-gen AirPods.
The design calls for simple capacitive sensors that detect touch or force input, optical proximity sensors, and accelerometers to help detect user tap input. (e.g., measuring vibrations due to user finger taps on housing).
Interestingly, the design also calls for housing 3D image sensors, LIDAR sensors, and gaze tracking sensors. The design also incorporates LED diodes and waveguide-based illumination structures.
Given the abundance of sensors on these AirPods, it appears that Apple may be trying to gather more health data, particularly during sleep. We have already seen Earbud designs that can measure EEG and more, suggesting that could be an area of interest for Apple.
As with any patent, it’s hard to say when the features described in it become a product feature. I must say that this one does feel different. It’s one of those designs that a company like Apple can conjure and implement easily!