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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.jpg

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.




Article Link: Kuo: New AirPods to Feature Cameras for Enhanced Spatial Experiences
 
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chas_m

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2016
56
103
I don’t want my AirPods looking at me. Just me?
I'm sorry you don't understand what IR (Infrared) means. To be fair, the article should have emphasized that the Infrared cameras are looking outward, not inward.

These would barely be considered "cameras" at all by most people -- infrared cameras are sensing only changes in environment, such as turning one's head. For spatial audio, that's important, but its neither "seeing" or "collecting" information about your environment.
 

noxivs

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2015
34
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ist
Increasing the cost of a very high selling product even by a dollar just so that it could be used by a few select Vision Pro users, which more than half of probably gave up using. Doesn't make sense. I highly doubt that there's another Vision Pro coming any time soon or at all.
 

kitKAC

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2022
800
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Kuo, really? AirPods specifically for VisionPro or whatever the next one is called?
Unless there’s a benefit to all other users of AirPods, I highly doubt this

He must be confused, you would surely put these sensors on Vison Pro itself?
 
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FloatingBones

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
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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 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.
 
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G725

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2016
38
59
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?
 

Rychiar

macrumors 68030
May 16, 2006
2,705
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Waterbury, CT
Increasing the cost of a very high selling product even by a dollar just so that it could be used by a few select Vision Pro users, which more than half of probably gave up using. Doesn't make sense. I highly doubt that there's another Vision Pro coming any time soon or at all.
Ah people who doubt the future… 🙄
 
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