The Apple AirPods Pro 2 could come with unusual controls, the likes of which we've never seen before, like the ability to adjust your music playback by touching your face, shaking your head, and even clicking your teeth together.
These futuristic-sounding controls were described in a patent filed by Apple, which was discovered by Patently Apple (opens in new tab).
The patent describes earbuds that are designed to detect input actions within a structure, with examples of these structures including the inside of your ear canal, your head, or any body part.
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As Patently Apple puts it, "the user may contact an exterior surface of their body, such as the skin on his or her face", with further examples of input actions including "a user clicking [their] teeth together or clicking [their] tongue", as well as shaking their head or moving their arms up and down. Pretty weird.
The possible ways to control the earbuds don't stop there. The patent also describes input actions from producing vocal sounds and subvocalizations (vocal sounds that are below the threshold of human hearing).
These input actions aren't limited to interactions with the user's own body, either. The wireless earbuds could also be controlled by the user contacting another object, such as tapping a table, or even squeezing the arm of another person (though we wouldn't advise doing the latter with a stranger on your commute).
This isn't the first time that Apple has looked into unconventional methods for controlling its true wireless earbuds.
In August, Apple was awarded a patent that describes the ability to control true wireless earbuds with futuristic 'in-air gestures'.
These game-changing features could feasibly come to the rumored Apple AirPods Pro 2, the follow-up to the tech giant's popular noise-cancelling wireless earbuds.
Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – who has been proven right in the past – has predicted that a new version of the AirPods Pro will arrive in 2022, following a new version of the 2019 AirPods, the so-called Apple AirPods 3.
It's important to remember that patents are no guarantee that the technology described within will ever come to light – and Apple's use of physical controls on the over-ear AirPods Max suggests that the company isn't completely sold on the efficacy of more futuristic control methods.
- Read our Apple AirPods Max review