Home AirPods could soon have IR cameras

AirPods could soon have IR cameras


  • Apple plans to upgrade AirPods with a camera by 2026, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
  • The new AirPods could integrate with Vision Pro to enhance spatial audio and computing experiences.
  • Foxconn will supply the IR cameras, aiming to produce 18-20 million units annually.

Apple is rumored to be upgrading AirPods by adding a camera, with expectations these could be mass-produced by 2026.

The report comes from technology analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who shared their thoughts through a Medium post.

“My latest supply chain survey indicates that Apple plans to mass-produce new AirPods with camera modules by 2026, featuring an IR camera similar to the iPhone Face ID receiver (not transmitter)” writes the analyst.

They say the multinational electronics manufacturer Foxconn will be the supplier for the IR camera, “with an annual capacity plan of 18-20 million units, or about 10 million AirPods.”

This is the same manufacturer that Apple uses for its other products, including the iPhone. When looking at the previous releases, it’s clear some form of an upgrade has occurred every few years.

It was in September 2022 when the second-generation AirPods Pro were released, so an upgrade of some time could be expected at some point.

New Apple AirPods could link up with the Vision Pro headset

If the report is correct, the new version of the earphones are expected to be used with Vision Pro and future headsets to enhance the user experience of spatial audio while strengthening the spatial computing ecosystem.

This means that if a person is watching a video with the Vision Pro while wearing the new earphones, if they turn their head to look in a different direction, the source source in that direction can be emphasized.

Ming-Chi Kuo also writes that Apple has filed related patents in this area. “The IR camera can detect environmental image changes, potentially enabling in-air gesture control to enhance human-device interaction.”

The analyst expects Apple to focus on spatial computing as this would strengthen the competitiveness of their ecosystem.

“As the commercialization conditions for spatial computing mature in the future, Apple, which has a significant lead in this area, is expected to generate new and strong growth momentum.”

Apple hasn’t yet commented on the rumor or confirmed nor denied the report.

Featured Image: Photo by Filipe Alves on Unsplash

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Sophie Atkinson
Tech Journalist

Sophie Atkinson is a UK-based journalist and content writer, as well as a founder of a content agency which focuses on storytelling through social media marketing. She kicked off her career with a Print Futures Award which champions young talent working in print, paper and publishing. Heading straight into a regional newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism, Sophie started by working for Reach PLC. Now, with five years experience in journalism and many more in content marketing, Sophie works as a freelance writer and marketer. Her areas of specialty span a wide range, including technology, business,…

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