Apple might adopt bone-conduction technology in future AirPods
iPad and AirPods | Image credit: Nikkei Review

Apple AirPods is undoubtedly one of the most popular wireless earphones in the market. Its commendable battery life, charging capability and easy connectivity makes it desirable for those longing to have a hassle-free audio experience. 

Now it seems that the American tech company is gearing up to give a new design to its best-selling earphones. On Tuesday, a new patent filed by the company hints at the usage of bone conduction technology in its future AirPods. The patent was granted to the company by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

For the unfamiliar, bone conduction relies on contact specific points on the user’s head. It sends sound vibrations into the skull which is translated as perfect sound on reaching the ear. Also, by integrating bone conduction and normal air-based sound transmission, the company aims to develop a system that would provide audio in different situations.  

An example of a headset that incorporates bone conduction | Image credit: Apple Insider 

The technology has got its own merits, like enabling the users to have their own listening experience while being aware of their surroundings. It becomes a boon to those who cannot wear normal headphones or earphones due to ear damage. The technology can be leveraged for an underwater listening experience as well, where the normal listening techniques fail to be handy. 

However, like every technology, bone conduction also comes with certain limitations. Since all the audio transmissions take place within the head, there are chances that users would be irritated with tickles, thus offering them uncomfortable wear.

Also, the technology is only effective at sub-4,000 Hz levels which deteriorate at higher ranges. 

However, as per the patent description, Apple aims to solve the issue with bone conduction by providing space for standard air conduction methods. This would be designed in such a way that the ear canal would not be blocked. 

The patent titled “Multipath audio simulation using audio compressors” was initially filed in May 2018. Apple had earlier made efforts to utilize the technology. 

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