Future Apple Airpods may be able to identify its owners. Apple has filed a new patent titled ‘User Identification Using Headphones’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (UPTO) describing how it may be able to identify AirPods owners and enhance their privacy.
According to the patent application, Apple believes that anyone can wear an AirPods that belongs to someone else and while it is connected to someone else’s device it can result in releasing personal information such as Siri announcing the notifications or calendar updates.
That’s true as there’s no biometric authentication-like feature available for AirPods and it also seems quite impossible.
However, the new patent application seems to addresses the issue. Apple has explained that it can use nearby devices, ultrasonic signals, voice recognition and users’ walking pattern to identify an authorised user of the device.
The idea here is somewhat similar to what the company has implemented with the unlocked with Apple Watch feature as an alternative method to unlock an iPhone when someone is wearing a mask.
Apple’s proposal here seems to be an extensive version of that. The company has explained that the headphones, an iPhone and Apple Watch can work together to identify the owner.
Apple will tally the similarity score determined based on the first movement information and the second movement information and if the similarity score passes the threshold similarity score, then the person using the AirPods is the owner.
Here the first movement is the movement information corresponding to the movement of the headphones and iPhone, while the second movement information will be determined corresponding to the movement between the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
That’s not it, Apple has also explained that they can use the ultrasonic sound to determine whether the user is the owner or now.
“In some examples, the first audio output includes an ultrasonic signal transmitted from the second electronic device,” says the patent application. “In some examples, the received response comprises an echo of an ultrasonic signal included in the first audio output.”
While the entire idea seems to be interesting, Apple hasn’t exactly explained what benefits users will get out of this feature. The only this we currently know is that Siri can avoid announcing any message that you’ve received while someone else is wearing your AirPods.