Apple is gradually building a smart AirPod alternative to Google’s Pixel Buds

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Apple won’t let Google get away with producing the only chip headphones on the market.

Some information has emerged in recent months that suggests the AirPods maker is gradually adding – or, at least, reviewing – improved features for its hugely popular headphones.

The most recent is a patent – marked by Patently apple – which details a future pair of AirPods with new health-oriented features. The patent describes a feature that uses the built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes (currently in AirPods Pro) to get orientation information and measure user movements.

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Specifically mentioning the proper form when training, the patent explains that the new AirPods can be part of a system that coaches users and gives feedback based on “the performance of a head movement or head movement routine.” another exercise routine. ” The idea being that AirPods will be able to tell if you are exercising incorrectly.

Reference form before, during and after a workout, the patent goes on to say that “these stretching positions, which can sometimes be referred to as user’s head poses, user’s head tilt, neck stretches , poses, etc., can be used. to help stretch and relax a user’s upper body muscles. “

This clearly sounds like a reference to yoga and if that turns out to be true, it would be a good use of the AirPod gyroscopes. It seems like the idea is to offer performance-based coaching based on your form and movement, rather than the one-way coaching you get by watching an instructional video.

If correct (granted patents do not always come true), it could be an unintentionally expedient product. Lockdown means more and more people are randomly learning at home. Any sort of feedback – or correction on the proper form – would be welcome for the many people who are struggling with new exercises that they are trying out in their living room while watching YouTube.

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This isn’t the only clue we’ve had that Apple is heading in a new direction with AirPods. Back in May DigiTimes reported that Apple plans to include ambient light sensors in its next headset. The report hypothesized that new biometric technology could be used to measure health data by monitoring steps, heart rate and keeping an eye on other health conditions.

The light sensor technology could be conceptually similar to how the Apple Watch measures heart rate, which houses an optical heart sensor and uses a technique called photoplethysmography to gather information. As Apple explains, “Blood is red because it reflects red light and absorbs green light. Apple Watch uses green LED lights associated with light-sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given time. “

How, exactly, all of this will be crammed into future AirPods without making them too bulky is a question that remains to be resolved. But regardless of Apple’s design, it’s clear that these additions suggest that the AirPods are moving in a new direction, far from being just audio channels.

Competition from competitors to embellish their headphones is also rapidly increasing. Google has committed to regularly removing features (feature-based updates that occur several times a year) for its Pixel Buds, which will likely give them smarter features that use its AI Assistant technology. OnePlus has hinted that its new headphones will have additional smart features such as low latency mode when used for gaming, while Microsoft’s Surface headphones can live on narrative PowerPoint slides.

For the humble headset, it’s not enough to just play music anymore, they are becoming – and perhaps should become – slightly less intelligent extensions of your smartphone.

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