Apple Patents Context-Sensitive Hearable Technology

The next version of Apple’s AirPods may automatically adjust what the wearer hears, according to a new patent filing. The “contextual audio system” described in the patent would use artificial intelligence to determine whether to change the volume or noise cancellation systems.


The patent describes a way for earbuds to identify a wearer’s location and what’s going on around them to determine if the audio settings need to be adjusted. As an example, the patent suggests that being near traffic would cause the earbuds to lower their volume or hit pause in one ear, accounting for the direction people habitually travel with relation to traffic.

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