APPLE is expected to launch a new pair of AirPods wireless earbuds later this year – and a recent design patent might reveal what they look like.

The Sun has uncovered a recently published Apple patent that shows off a new design for earbuds.

 Apple has published a mysterious earbud design that could give clues about future products

Apple / USPTO / The Sun

Apple has published a mysterious earbud design that could give clues about future products

The patent – which is a legal document that protects a design or idea – was originally filed back in March 2017.

But it was was made available online for public viewing this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent protects what Apple describes as “the ornamental design for an earpiece”, but doesn’t offer any additional information.

An attached image for the “earpiece” shows a hooked earbud with a thick middle core – which presumably contains the electronic components.

 The new design could replace Apple's current AirPods wireless earbuds

Alamy

The new design could replace Apple’s current AirPods wireless earbuds

Apple is only technically filing for the middle core of the product, rather than the hooking system.

But there are two important things to note.

The first is that the hooked appearance – which seems to be designed to provide a more secure and comfortable fit in the ear – could give us a clue about what Apple is working on for future products.

The second is that the entirety of this earbud design is brand new, and has never appeared in an Apple product before.

One of the most common complaints about 2016’s Apple AirPods wireless earbuds is that the fit isn’t secure, and that they keep falling out.

Using a hooked design could fix this issue, and make the fit much more secure.

Apple is also expected to introduce a few new features in upcoming versions of the Apple AirPods.

This includes a waterproof design and noise-cancelling technology, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.

It’s going to be tricky to fit those additional technologies into the small Apple AirPods design.

What new products are we expecting from Apple in September?

According to top Apple watchers, we’re likely to see:

  • A 6.1-inch iPhone (£600 to £700) with an LCD screen
  • A 5.8-inch iPhone X successor with an OLED screen
  • A huge 6.5-inch iPhone X “Plus” with an OLED screen
  • New Apple Watch models with larger displays and a flatter design
  • A new iPad model with Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system
  • A new, cheaper version of the MacBook Air (with a MacBook Pro-style design)
  • A refreshed version of the Apple AirPods wireless earbuds
  • A pair of overheard Apple headphones

 

By using this thicker-body design depicted in the patent, Apple would find it much easier to add those technologies.

It might also leave additional room for a larger battery, potentially boosting overall battery life.

Sadly, a patent is simply a way of marking an idea legally – and protecting it from being used by rivals.

That means Apple may never actually use this patented design in a real product.

We’ve asked Apple for comment, and will update this article with any response.

 Apple's AirPods have been described as "magical", and have been widely praised by tech critics

Alamy

Apple’s AirPods have been described as “magical”, and have been widely praised by tech critics

Apple’s current AirPods are small wireless earbuds that come with a charging case.

They are completely cable-free, and connect to your iPhone, iPad or MacBook over Bluetooth.

According to Bloomberg, the AirPods 2 will boast a number of new features, including noise-cancellation.

Active noise cancellation is a popular technology available on premium headphones that shuts out ambient noise.

Apple is also reportedly working on adding water-resistance to the new AirPods.

According to an unnamed source, the AirPods won’t be sufficiently waterproof for swimming, but they’ll be protected against “rain and perspiration”.

It’s believed that Apple has also discussed (but not settled on) adding biometric sensors to the AirPods.

One example would be a heart-rate monitor, to mimic the health-tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch.

The new headphones are currently mooted for a launch at some point in 2019, but Apple is keeping mum about the whole matter.

We’re also expecting to see a slightly refreshed version of the current AirPods later this year, most likely in September at the expected iPhone launch event.

This new AirPods update is rumoured to include a new chip and support for hands-free Siri activation.

Are you excited for the next round of Apple gadgets? Let us know in the comments!


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