Given the success Apple’s enjoyed with the AirPods and AirPods Pro, you knew those wireless earbuds weren’t going to the company’s last word in audio gear. Apple reportedly has over-ear headphones in the works, with the AirPods Studio expected to arrive this year.
But we don’t have to wait for an Apple product launch event to see what these headphones might look like. Thanks to a recent patent application (opens in new tab) spotted by AppleInsider (opens in new tab) we have a better idea of what form the AirPods Studio could take.
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Of course, Apple can't just settle on creating over-the-ear headphones. In its patent application, Apple describes headphones that are both "circumaural" — which covers the external part of the ear — and "supra-aural," which rest on the ears without covering them completely. The name of the application refers to its new project: "Headphones with Increased Back Volume."
Among some of the features listed in the patent are ways that a "smarter" headset could sense when it's being worn correctly, as mentioned in an earlier Apple Glass patent. The patent also details a headband able to "rotate about yaw axes of rotation" and "time of flight sensors configured to measure angular change of earpieces." These theoretical headphones would know if they're being worn, if the cups are on the correct ears, and more, in a bid to offer headphones that fit different people within a wide variety of sizes.
Another Apple patent (opens in new tab) also related to headphones talks about a “telescoping stem assembly.” In essence, Apple wants to perfect a way for headphones to properly fit different head sizes while also making them easier to fold up and tote around.
Apple’s motivation here seems to be to figure out the way to produce better fitting headphones that you can carry around with you.
"Headphones have now been in use for over 100 years, but the design of the mechanical frames used to hold the earpieces against the ears of a user have remained somewhat static," the first patent reads. "For this reason, some over-head headphones are difficult to easily transport without the use of a bulky case or by wearing them conspicuously about the neck when not in use."
There's no mention of any "AirPods Studio" in the patent, so anything in the document could be unrelated to Apple’s rumored headphones. And true to its nature, Apple hasn’t even confirmed that such a product is in the works, even if it’s rumored to be appearing alongside the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch 6 this fall.