'AirPods Studio' rumored to feature head and neck detection

Apple’s widely used over-ear headphones, tentatively dubbed “AirPods Studio”, will include some new features, including head and neck detection, according to a report released Monday.

Beats
Apple Beats Solo Pro headphones.

Citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans, 9to5Mac reports that a future “AirPods Studio” model will use built-in sensors to determine when and how the headset is worn.

Similar to in-ear detection on AirPods and AirPods Pro, the capability would determine whether the device is on a user’s head or neck to enable automatic content playback functions such as pause, restart or stopping the helmet. For example, the headset can stop reading when a user places the device on their neck and resume reading when it is returned to a head-mounted position.

A second set of sensors, presumably located in or near the ears of the rumor accessory or on its headband, is capable of discerning a user’s left and right ears for the automatic allocation of stereo channels. It is not known whether the parts are proximity sensors, optical sensors or accelerometers. Implementation could mean that there is no “wrong way” to carry the device.

Finally, the report says that pairing the headphones with an iPhone or Mac “unlocks” or triggers customizable equalization settings. Specifically, users can adjust the frequency parameters in three increments: low, medium and high. Although not as granular as other offerings, frequency customization would be a welcome addition for professional users looking for a more neutral frequency curve than current heavy consumer configurations.

Today’s report aligns with Apple’s recently released patent for ear detection, which details the methods by which sensors can determine when headphones are worn over the ears. A second patent application published last August relies on capacitive sensors and machine learning algorithms to detect the orientation of the headphones in order to automatically assign the output of the left and right channels.

Apple is expected to widely introduce a set of on-ear headphones under its own brand, not Beats, later this year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was the first to predict the move in 2018, saying the expansion of the company’s wearable clothing business would be based on wireless and noise-canceling technology established by the popular AirPods line.

Subsequent rumors have set the launch date for summer 2020 for the supposed “AirPods Studio”, with a retail price of $ 349.

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