AirPods with IR Cameras Rumored to be on the Way – But We’ll Have to Wait

For Spatial Audio

Apple is rumored to be planning a new addition to its line-up of the best AirPods: specifically, AirPods with infrared cameras. These new AirPods can be paired with a Vision Pro headset to create a spatial audio experience that changes as you move your head.

This information comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is often accurate with his Apple predictions. However, the IR-enabled AirPods won’t be available anytime soon, with mass production expected to start in 2026.

It’s worth noting that back in February, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also reported that Apple was considering AirPods with cameras. With two reliable sources backing up this rumor, it seems likely, though Apple’s plans can always change. The camera system inside the AirPods will be similar to the tech used for Face ID on the iPhone, according to Kuo. These cameras would be able to detect head movements, adjusting certain sounds accordingly. In a virtual 3D environment, this kind of audio trickery can be very effective.

What the Future Might Hold

Kuo also suggests that the cameras might be able to detect hand gestures. Gestures can already be used for actions inside the Vision Pro, but as our Apple Vision Pro review indicates, there’s room for improvement in this area.

While sales of the Vision Pro haven’t been particularly significant, Apple is reportedly pressing ahead with a cheaper model, which is also said to be arriving on the consumer market around 2026.

When iOS 16 arrived in 2022, it brought a Personalized Spatial Audio feature for the AirPods, which worked with the help of an iPhone for 3D scanning. These immersive experiences seem to be something Apple is particularly interested in. No doubt we’ll hear more rumors and leaks about AirPods with cameras in the months ahead. In the meantime, the standard AirPods models are also expected to be refreshed this year or next, so we can look forward to the 4th-gen standard AirPods and the Apple AirPods Pro 3 in the not-too-distant future.



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