Apple Developing AirPods With Infrared Cameras And Enhanced Spatial Audio For 2026.

Apple is reportedly working on new AirPods with built-in infrared cameras, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. These cameras will be similar to the iPhone’s Face ID receiver but will be designed to detect environmental changes and improve the spatial audio experience on the Vision Pro and other future Apple headsets, Kuo wrote in a Medium post.

Kuo explains that when a user wears the new AirPods while watching a video with Vision Pro, turning their head to a specific direction will emphasize the sound source from that direction, enhancing the spatial audio/computing experience.

Additionally, the cameras may enable “in-air gesture control” for the AirPods, with Apple already filing several patents in this area, Kuo notes.

However, these advanced AirPods are not expected to be available for the holiday season. Kuo predicts they will enter mass production by 2026, with Foxconn supplying the IR cameras. The production could reach 18-20 million units annually, or about 10 million AirPods.

Meanwhile, we can expect fourth-gen AirPods and next-gen AirPods Max later this year, and new AirPods Pro in 2025, as reported by Bloomberg in October.

As for the Vision Pro, which launched earlier this year, rumors suggest that a second-generation version won’t be available until late 2025. This next version may be less premium and more affordable to better compete with VR headsets from Meta.

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