Kuo: New AirPods to Feature Cameras for Enhanced Spatial Experiences

Apple will launch new AirPods featuring infrared cameras to improve spatial experiences with the Vision Pro headset, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

airpods vision pro
In a post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple plans to mass-produce new AirPods with integrated IR camera modules by 2026. These IR cameras will apparently be similar to the iPhone's Face ID receiver.

The purpose of IR cameras on AirPods is related to Apple Vision Pro and future headsets from the company, enhancing the spatial computing and audio experience. The IR cameras can detect environmental image changes, facilitating a broader range of gestures to improve user interaction. For example, if a user watches a video using ‌Apple Vision Pro‌ and the new AirPods, and turns their head to look in a specific direction, the sound source in that direction can be "emphasized to enhance the spatial audio/computing experience."

Foxconn is said to be the supplier of the new IR component, with the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer preparing to provide enough parts for about 10 million AirPods initially. It is not clear which AirPods model is likely to get the feature first, but the AirPods Pro may be most likely since they already offer lossless audio exclusively with the Vision Pro.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

Mactagonist Avatar
3 weeks ago
Camera is a stretch. Sensor might have been a more apt description.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
appleuser21 Avatar
3 weeks ago
Instead of implementing new features or integrating bigger batteries, let's spend time and money to add cameras to tens of millions of AirPods so the two people who have bought and actually use the AVP can get a slightly better experience. Awesome.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
3 weeks ago
Notification from AirPods: Please clean your ears, ew...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
emmab2006 Avatar
3 weeks ago
Siri -> “The car that just run you over was a 2016 Toyota Preius. Would you like me to find the nearest Toyota Showroom ?”
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G725 Avatar
3 weeks ago
I don't get it. The Vision Pro already tracks your head orientation very well. How could sensors in your earphones improve that? Also why wouldn't you rather integrate those sensors in the Vision Pro?
The described use case only makes sense for head tracking without the Vision Pro.
Also why not use gyros?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FloatingBones Avatar
3 weeks ago

Great way to expand the sensors for AVP. Map out the surroundings with 360.
It's interesting that APPL (and other consumer product companies) are considering using sensors in the infrared spectrum. We have generally been oblivious to NIR light in the past 20-30 years. OG incandescent lights would kick about half their energy as infrared light, but "efficient" LED home lighting only emits light the visible spectrum ?. It turns out that abundant infrared light is crucial for the performance of our mitochondria (search on NIR light mitochondria ('https://duckduckgo.com/?t=h_&hps=1&start=1&q=nir+light+mitochondria&ia=web') for science papers and articles on that topic). You can now buy screw-in LED bulbs that generate much red/NIR light (and less "blue light") -- or bulbs that even adapt their radiation spectrum during the day. With sensors, health-reporting apps could monitor how much red/NIR light you're getting. Sunlight provides abundant red/NIR; "get in the sun" is great advice. At the same time, broader-spectrum indoor lighting -- like we used to have -- is an excellent thing for our overall health.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)