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Next-gen AirPods could be all about making Apple Vision Pro better

Published Jul 1st, 2024 5:21AM EDT
AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Later this year, Apple is expected to start upgrading its AirPods lineup with 4th-generation earbuds and a USB-C version of AirPods Max. While AirPods Pro is expected to get new features in 2025, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that a 2026 iteration could be an even bigger update that’s all about improving Apple Vision Pro.

In a Medium post, the top Apple insider says the company wants to mass-produce new AirPods Pro with camera modules by 2026. With that, Apple’s earbuds would feature an IR camera similar to the iPhone Face ID camera.

This is not the first time BGR has reported that Apple wants to add camera sensors to AirPods. Previously, rumors revealed that they could be used for health, as Apple has big health plans for AirPods Pro 3. Now, Ming-Chi Kuo says they could also improve Spatial Audio.

The analyst reports that Foxconn will be producing the IR camera with an annual capacity plan of 18-20 million units, which Kuo says is about 10 million AirPods. These new earbuds would be used with “Vision Pro and future Apple headsets to enhance the user experience of Spatial Audio and strengthen the spatial computing ecosystem.”

When a user is watching a video with Vision Pro and wearing the new AirPods, the head-tracking experience can be improved since the IR camera can detect environmental image changes. This could potentially enable in-air gesture control to enhance human-device interaction.

At this moment, it’s unclear if Apple could be delaying the introduction of AirPods Pro 3 or if the company already plans a new version of its best earbuds just to improve the spatial computing experience.

It’s also important to note that rumors believe Apple wants to introduce a new spatial computer as soon as next year, although it all depends on the company’s capacity to lower prices to make it more appealing to users.

BGR will keep following the latest AirPods rumors and how these earbuds could improve users’ lives.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.