Apple’s New Patent: Headphones That Adapt to Your Surroundings

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently disclosed a patent application numbered US 20230104111 A1, submitted by Apple, which reveals technology that can automatically adjust headphone audio output based on the surrounding environment.

According to the patent description, this technology can automatically detect whether the user is in a car, on grass, in a classroom, on a train, or in a living room, and adjust the headphone audio output accordingly, depending on whether the content is music or video. This enables users to listen to the audio content in a more suitable and immersive manner.

Image: appleworld

Prior to this, Apple had incorporated an adaptive transparency mode in their new AirPods Pro 2, which reduces the impact of sudden loud noises in the environment, thus protecting the user’s hearing and preventing them from being startled by unexpected sounds. Additionally, the spatial audio design allows users to enjoy a more personalized listening experience.

The disclosed patent suggests that Apple may integrate environmental recognition capabilities into future headphone products, dynamically adjusting the most suitable audio output mode and making real-time adjustments based on the content being played, such as emphasizing human voices or enhancing audio detail.

The implementation relies on the principles of human perception of sound, employing digital audio processing and computational techniques, along with microphones and spatial audio features, to produce an appropriate sound representation in both ears, corresponding to the specific environment.