Future Apple AirPods Might Be Able to Identify Their Owner

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Apple’s AirPods line has become extremely popular in the TWS segment and as a result, we’ve seen the company constantly make the future AirPods models more advanced and packed with features. Now, a recent patent from Apple suggests that upcoming AirPods may be able to automatically identify the owner and offer personalized features to protect their privacy. Sounds interesting? This is what it’s about.

Future Apple AirPods may be able to identify their owner using ultrasonic sounds, hints patent

How will future AirPods identify the owner?

A patent, which was filed with the US Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) in July 2020, was recently awarded to Apple. titled “User identification with headphones,It describes a system that would allow future AirPods to detect whether they are being worn by their owner or someone else. If someone else is wearing them, so will they Automatically block personalized features such as announcing messages.

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For those who don’t know, users can currently use the automatic announcement of messages on AirPods that uses Siri to announce incoming messages through earphones. However, if a user gives their AirPods to someone else for a short period of time and a personal message arrives at that time, the AirPods will still announce the message to the wearer, even if those messages are not intended for them.

Apple considers this a privacy issue, citing that there is currently no way for the AirPods to identify the owner. So, the company suggests that: future AirPods can analyze movement and movement of multiple devices such as an iPhone and an Apple Watch and compare them to identify the owner. Here the AirPods themselves can be the ‘first device’, the iPhone the second and the Apple Watch the third device.

“For example, first motion information is detected that corresponds to motion from a second electronic device. Second movement information corresponding to the movement of a third electronic device is detected. Based on the first motion information and the second motion information, a similarity score is determined. In accordance with a determination that the match score is above a threshold match score, a user is identified as an authorized user [of the headphones.]” Apple explains in the patent.

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There is also another way!

Furthermore, Apple hints at another method for the AirPods to automatically detect the owner that: includes ultrasounds that are emitted by iPhones.

It is suggested that when a user puts on the AirPods, the connected iPhone may emit an ultrasonic sound that the AirPods can pick up. When the AirPods hear the ultrasound, it becomes clear that the iPhone and the earbuds are close to each other, indicating that an authorized user is wearing them.

“In some examples, the first audio output contains an ultrasonic signal that is transmitted by the second electronic device. In some examples, the received response is an echo of an ultrasonic signal recorded in the first audio output,” the patent explains it further.

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Now it’s worth noting that while the owner identification system for AirPods sounds cool, it’s still patented. There is a chance it will be scraped off and may never see the light of day. Therefore, it is best not to raise your hopes. Even if it reaches the final stage, it may not be introduced soon. Moreover, it remains to be seen how feasible an idea is!

We’ll let you know what Apple plans to do. Stay tuned for further updates and let us know your thoughts on the feature in the comments below.

Featured Image Via: AppleInsider

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