Apple’s AirPods are often and gladly worn, but depending on the situation and environment, this can also involve a certain risk potential. The iPhone manufacturer reveals how Apple intends to better protect its users in the future in a recently published document.
The in-ear design of the AirPods skillfully isolates the listener from their environment, which is of course particularly successful with the active noise cancellation (ANC) of the AirPods Pro. As good as this can be for enjoying music, it becomes just as dangerous if, for example, you are no longer aware of your surroundings in traffic – there is a risk of accident.
AirPods in traffic: the current danger situation
For this good reason, the Pro models also have the so-called “transparency mode”, which allows noises from outside so that the user can still hear what is happening around him. Disadvantage: The user has to make the setting manually. It is therefore up to his judgment whether the transparency mode is appropriate and better used. However, this then has a significant disadvantage, because the user can simply forget this and is then “blindly” exposed to the danger. Apple is aware of this and would like to improve it with a new function in the future, as we have now learned.
Already knew? This is how the AirPods can also be connected to Android smartphones:
Apple’s new ideas: AirPods with automatic environment detection
The telltale document for a related feature is a patent application from Apple, as reported by the AppleInsider website – filed in March 2019, then successfully granted yesterday, Tuesday. The feature is described as a “contextual audio system” which could be translated as a “context-dependent audio system”. Without going too deep into the technical details, it would be possible for the AirPods to determine the environment in which the user is moving and could thus adjust the audio output. For example, a cyclist with AirPods should hear much more ambient noise than when someone is traveling by tram, for example. In such a case, the volume and transparency of the AirPods could then be automatically controlled and adjusted.
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This recognition would be possible, for example, if the system recognizes when a cyclist app reveals the position and speed of the user. The AirPods could or would have to access external sensors for this purpose, for example, these could come from the Apple Watch or from a smart yoga mat as mentioned in the patent. It is still unclear when or whether Apple will actually realize the possibilities of the patent mentioned. However, it clearly reveals the manufacturer’s efforts to protect the user better in the future.