The Apple AirPods Pro are one of the very best true wireless earbuds on the market today in 2020, but competition in the space is getting fiercer and fiercer every single month.
To combat this it looks like Apple is exploring the possibility of augmenting a future pair of Apple AirPods, such as the Apple AirPods Pro 2, with some advanced new functionality that we've not seen before in this product category.
That advanced new feature? As Patently Apple (opens in new tab) report, in-air hand gestures.
The patent (opens in new tab) lays out a system whereby augmenting the AirPods Pro with "various sensors and structure", would allow them to be configured "to detect gestures, physical manipulations, and so forth".
Once these responses have been detected, "the earbud may be configured to change various outputs, such as an audio output or a haptic output of the device."
In addition, the patent clearly states:
"The earbud may also include a microphone to register voice commands. In some cases, the microphone may be used to control the earbud using the registered voice command in response to one or more detected gestures or physical manipulations."
All of which, combined together, points to a future pair of Apple AirPods coming with one or all of these systems. Now, of course, there is also the possibility that none of these features make it to a pair of future AirPods, as patents don't necessarily mean a tech with come to market.
That said, though, the detail of the patent, and the fact that it actually covers multiple different potential command and feedback systems suggests to us here at T3 that we will be seeing some of this tech in a future Apple product.
Here's hoping it reaches us in time for the Apple AirPods Pro 2 refresh, or at the very least the Apple AirPods Pro 3.
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