Next-generation AirPods Could Be All on Improving Apple Vision Pro

Next-generation AirPods Could Be All on Improving Apple Vision Pro

Later this year, Apple is slated to begin upgrading its AirPods collection with 4th-generation earphones and a USB-C version of AirPods Max. While additional capabilities are expected for AirPods Pro in 2025, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that a 2026 edition would be even greater, focusing on boosting Apple Vision Pro.

In a Medium post, a prominent Apple insider stated that the company intends to mass-produce updated AirPods Pro with camera modules by 2026. As a result, Apple’s earbuds would have an infrared camera comparable to the iPhone Face ID camera.

This isn’t the first time BGR has reported that Apple plans to integrate camera sensors to AirPods. Previously, speculations suggested that they may be used for health purposes, as Apple has great plans for AirPods Pro 3. Ming-Chi Kuo believes they could also improve Spatial Audio.

According to the analyst, Foxconn plans to produce the IR camera with an annual capacity of 18-20 million units, which Kuo estimates to be approximately 10 million AirPods. These new earphones will be used in conjunction with “Vision Pro and future Apple headsets to enhance the user experience of Spatial Audio and strengthen the spatial computing ecosystem.”

When a user watches a video with Vision Pro and wears the new AirPods, the head-tracking experience can be improved since the IR camera detects surrounding picture changes. This could enable in-air gesture control, improving human-device interaction.

At the moment, it’s unclear whether Apple is delaying the release of AirPods Pro 3 or if the firm is already planning a new version of its best earbuds just to better the spatial computing experience.

It’s also worth noting that speculations suggest Apple intends to release a new spatial computer as early as next year, however this depends on the company’s ability to cut prices to make it more appealing to users.

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