Apple’s Next Headphones Could Double as Speakers


Apple is developing technology that turns your headphones into portable speakers, a new patent reveals.

The patent, which was filed in May 2011 and granted earlier this week, describes special sensors on the speakers that activate “speaker mode” when the headphones are placed in a specific position. The listener can alternate between in-ear listening and speaker mode by moving the buds outwards at a 90-degree angle.

“A sensor in the headphones can detect the current position of the headphones, and can change the mode of the circuit to correspond to the detected current position,” reads the document, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday. “For example, the sensor can change between an in-ear mode in which the amplifier is bypassed and a speaker mode in which the amplifier is powered and used.”

If the sound quality is good enough and loud enough, the new headphones could spell the end for portable speakers. We’re yet to see to any official images (the one seen above is merely a concept of what future Apple headphones could look like) — stay tuned for more information.

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