While AirPods and other earbuds offer convenient — and sometimes even stylish — ways to listen to music or podcasts, there’s no doubt that occasionally they could become somewhat of a risk to its users, as they prevent people from being able to hear ambient sounds in potentially harmful environments, such as crossing a road or riding a bicycle.
Hoping to remedy this, Apple has now filed a new patent titled “Contextual audio system” which describes the ability for its AirPods to detect dangerous situations and automatically adjust the audio settings to give you better awareness, either by lowering the volume or completely cutting off playback. The company also proposes other additional tools that can be used in conjunction to give more clues or a better context as to whether the user needs to be alert, including devices such as the Apple Watch to track movements or location data that provides insight into whether the user is in a certain position that requires more of their attention.
Of course, as usual, Apple files many patents all throughout the year, and a large proportion of them never come to fruition for commercial release, so it’s not a guarantee that future AirPods will be getting this update.
Elsewhere in the world of tech, Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo is arriving in September.