Apple adding built-in cameras to AirPods according to report

Rebecca Hills-Duty
new airpods with camera

Apple is working on a new type of AirPods that will incorporate cameras for spatial sound, according to a report from one analyst.

When discussing Apple’s forays into immersive technology, most of the attention is directed at the Apple Vision Pro and its potential successors. However, the headset may only be the tip of the iceberg, judging by a report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo is a reliable source for the latest insider information from Apple, and his latest Medium blog revealed some interesting trends derived from his latest supply chain survey. Kuo’s survey report indicated that Apple has plans to create a new type of AirPods that will feature camera modules.

Apple AirPods Pro 2

This new type of AirPods will have an IR camera similar to the Face ID receiver already used on the iPhone. Kuo said the IR camera will be capable of detecting environmental image changes, enabling features such as in-air gesture control.

Notably, Apple has already filed patents related to this type of gesture control.

According to Kuo, the new AirPods will be used with the Vision Pro headset and other similar devices to improve spatial audio.

This could further strengthen what Kuo referred to as the “spatial computing ecosystem,” with the new AirPods being tied to other immersive technologies such as the Vision Pro or AR glasses.

One example is that a user watching a video with the Vision Pro and the new AirPods could turn their head to look in a particular direction, with the sound source in that direction being emphasized to create a feeling of immersion.

Kuo’s report specified that Foxconn is the new product introduction (NPI) supplier for the IR camera in this new generation of AirPods. The AirPods with IR cameras are expected to hit the market by 2026.