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Apple AirPods With Camera for Better Spatial Audio Capabilities Said to Launch Soon: Ming-Chi Kuo

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Apple is reportedly working on new AirPods that will come equipped with cameras. These new AirPods will feature infrared radiation (IR) cameras, similar to the ones integrated with the iPhone Face ID receiver. It is said that the new true wireless stereo (TWS) by the Cupertino-based tech giant will offer an enhanced spatial audio experience when used with the Apple Vision Pro, the company’s mixed-reality headset. Last month at WWDC, the company introduced new features for AirPods such as gesture-based controls to interact with Siri, capabilities for head-tracking while playing games, and improved sound during voice calls.

Apple said to launch camera-equipped AirPods

In a Medium post, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said, “My latest supply chain survey indicates that Apple plans to mass-produce new AirPods with camera modules by 2026, featuring an IR camera similar to the iPhone Face ID receiver (not the transmitter).” Notably, a previous report in February also hinted at AirPods with cameras and advanced sensors.

The new functionality to AirPods is reportedly being added to improve the spatial audio experience when paired with the Vision Pro and any future Apple headsets the company launches. It is said that if a user is watching a video on the mixed-reality headset wearing the new earphones and turns their head in a specific direction, they will hear a louder or more emphasised audio from the sound source in that direction. The overall impact is said to be a more immersive experience.

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As per the report, the IR cameras on the AirPods will be capable of detecting environmental image changes. These will be able to detect when a Vision Pro user moves the head and the orientation of the video player changes in the augmented reality or virtual reality environment. Further, it is said that the earphones may also offer in-air gestures to interact with the device.

Kuo claimed that the Taiwan-based Foxconn is Apple’s provider for the IR cameras. The supply chain giant is reportedly planning to manufacture 18-20 million units, which roughly translates to 10 million AirPods. However, these are projected numbers and the final output would depend on market conditions.

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