Apple patent reveals surprise new AirPods Pro accessory – Forbes 1

Apple’s patents give solid clues as to what the company will reveal next. So, the newly released AirPods (or AirPods Pro) patent can tell us what Apple has in store for users of its popular in-ear headphones. And it happens the same week as rumors of a new virtual exercise service from the company.

Additionally, the patent blurted out that Apple might have a whole new accessory in mind to work with AirPods or AirPods Pro. The patent doesn’t say which version of Apple headphones it might apply to.

Here is what we know.

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Contextual audio

The patent, spotted by Patently Apple, focuses on a contextual audio system, “to adjust audio playback in response to position data.” It can use a portable audio device, such as headphones, for example, and “possibly a sensing device”.

Although released in recent days, the patent was originally filed in March 2019, indicating that Apple has had time to work on it to get it ready soon.

And how do we know that the patent relates to aspects of fitness and health? It’s easy. The patent reveals it in the very first sentences: One of the inventors is Jay Blahnik, senior director of Fitness for Health technologies at Apple.

Blahnik is passionate about health to your fingertips, dedicated to enhancing the fitness capabilities of Apple products, renowned for teaching classes that sell regularly and are only weighed down, one would imagine, by awards that have earned him over the years.

See its name on a patent and you know without further reading that it will be health-focused.

The patent is designed to modify the audio output in response to the received data. This can be achieved through different systems such as “the portable audio device is a first earphone; the pop-up audio system further includes a second earpiece in communication with at least one of the first earpiece or the sensing device; the detection device is one of a smart watch or a smart phone; audio output setting includes stopping audio output. “

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So it’s an earphone like an AirPod or AirPod Pro plus an iPhone or Apple Watch, probably.

The background to the patent is that our wearable gadgets, and I quote, “have provided users with an unprecedented amount of content to consume in almost any setting.” This has the side effect of taking back our attention or distracting us. Well, we can all figure that out.

Reading when riding a bike

If the system detects that you need to pay more attention to your surroundings, it adjusts the sound coming from the headphones. So if you are riding a bicycle, for example, which is mentioned several times in the patent, it may use what it calls position data. This means data on “location, movement, speed, acceleration, weight distribution, balance or any other location and / or orientation in space”.

The patent sets the example that it can use GPS data, for example, to determine that the wearer is on or along a road where the need for attention is needed. The headphones could be used to “broadcast a warning,” he says. The aim is “to improve the safety of a user or to attract the attention of a user”.

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He goes into more detail, specifying that he could determine which side of the road the user is on, and therefore which earpiece is facing the road, for example. If he decides the position and speed, he can start playing a cycling playlist. It can determine the speed of the rider using the GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope data, for example, and if it is determined that the speed is above a certain threshold, it can adjust the sound. It can determine if vehicles or other people are on or near the road and respond accordingly, perhaps by muting the music or muffling it in the earpiece closest to the road.

Adjust your posture!

But the patent goes far beyond a simple caveat when riding a bike. It can also be used in other situations, when you are not on a bicycle. Then it could be used to spot when a wearer is leaning to the right and respond with a message saying, “You can improve your posture by changing position!”

The new accessory

This is where the new Apple device comes in. The patent provides an example of a training mat that would be used as a sensing device with pressure sensitivity or, as the patent calls it, “a set. capacitive force sensing nodes ”. These would “detect the location of a person standing on the sensing device” and could detect the user’s weight distribution.

So, what is it for?

The patent reveals that one of the objectives of such a form of training would be yoga. “The user may be in a yoga pose, but their positioning may be slightly offset or otherwise sub-optimal for the pose.” In this case, you might hear a message in your ear encouraging you to improve your downward dog or tree stance!

When can I get it?

I think this is one of the more intriguing Apple patents to date and I can’t wait to get an Apple Mat or what it could be called. But, as always with Apple, it’s worth remembering that patents can take a long time to materialize, if they ever get realized.

Crossed fingers.


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