The AirPods Pro boast a function linked to their active noise cancellation: an ambient noise mode (in English they call it Transparency Mode) that allows we can hear what is happening around us even while listening to music. The idea is that we can be alert in case of using them near traffic or in urban areas where we have to be careful when listening to music and avoiding what surrounds us.
But this function has to be activated voluntarily by the user, and if it does not do so, it is isolated from any surrounding sound. Hence, Apple is thinking of a way with which the AirPods themselves are the ones that determine whether a sound is important to the user, to automatically disable noise isolation and alert you.
If a car is coming, let the user know
The trace of this function has been guessed in an Apple patent that has been published recently and that they have located in AppleInsider. It would detect what the user would be doing (walking, running, cycling on a road) and the AirPods themselves would regulate the sound according to the situation. If for example you are cycling on a road, the active cancellation would be deactivated so that you would hear the cars coming and thus be able to anticipate their passage. In some situations even the music would stop completely.
The system would be able to determine if you are driving or if you are simply a passenger in a car, or if you are exercising at home with headphones on. Each situation has its demands, so that if, for example, your house bell rings, the headphones themselves detect it and regulate the sound.
It could perfectly be an improvement of the cancellation or regulation of ambient sound in a future firmware update of the AirPods, or something dedicated to future models more capable of headphones. Recall that Apple plans to launch several more models of its headphones including headband ones, with which these functions would make them differentiate more from the competition.
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