Apple will reportedly add a U1 chip to its new over-ear wireless headphones, AirPods Studio, to sense how the device is worn and make changes to the audio delivery accordingly.
According to reliable Apple insider L0vetodream on Twitter, Apple’s long-rumored premium over-ear headphones will use the U1 chip for Ultra Wideband communications. The U1 chip is already included in the iPhone 11 to offer more accurate device detection for AirDrop, and in the new iPad Air, and now it appears that the chip is coming to the AirPods Studio, too.
In a series of tweets, the insider suggests that the U1 chip is one of the most important parts of Apple’s ecosystem, designed to determine distance and direction. As such, the new device will automatically recognize the left and right positioning of the headset, so users don’t have to look at the L and R labels on the headphones – in fact, there won’t be any.
The insider suggests that, by knowing whether the headband is at the top of the head or in another position, Apple can take into account the rotation and offer gesture-based touch controls, and the earcups can switch the audio channels to deliver the best possible sound.
L0vetodream, who primarily tweets in Chinese, has a proven track record when it comes to insider information from Apple. AirPods Studio are expected to launch later in the year, and will be Apple’s first branded over-ear headphones outside of Beats. They’ll come with Active Noise Cancellation and perhaps be sold in both premium and sports-focused configurations.
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