When it comes to buying a new pair of headphones, there is an ocean of specs that is to be considered. Open or Closed? Wired or wireless? And with or without remote control? If you choose a pair that enable you to take calls while on the road, looking at the specifications is even more important if you want to make sure, the person on the other end of the line will be able to understand you. Apple might just have found a very good way to make sure of this.
When listening to your music in a silent environment, isolation or even noise cancellation does not play a major role. As soon as you head down the subway or hop on your bike, things change due to the noise that is being created by traffic and other people. To keep it quiet, some headphone manufactures include microphones which are able to pick up noise and cancel them out with a negative frequency. The same procedure is applicable to microphones. The problem is, that noise cancellation does not work properly with lots of ambient sound, since your headset is unable to clearly differentiate between your voice and the gibberish a group of tourists standing next to you might produce.
According to a recent patent application Apple has also done some research on this topic and came up with a nifty idea called „system and method of mixing accelerometer and microphone signals to improve voice quality in a mobile device“.
Just like other noise canceling headphones, the described set contains multiple microphones. This information is combined with vibrations, generated by the human skull while speaking, and an accelerometer. This way the headphone will be able to know exactly what to cancel and what to preserve and send through the microphone. The caller on the other end of the line will be able to understand you, even though you are in a busy place like a mall. For now, Apple has said no word on the release yet. But with Apples current generation of earpods being more than two years old, it is time for an update.