Patent Suggests Apple’s Over-Ear Headphones Could Feature Gesture Controls And Rotation Sensors

We don’t know all that much about Apple’s over-ear headphones beyond the fact that we’re fairly confident that they’re going to happen at some point. Bringing AirPods-like features and capabilities to an Apple-branded pair of headphones makes plenty of sense and a new patent might have shown us how everything will work.

According to the patent, the headphones will feature gesture controls that will allow users to swipe on their earcups. Sony does something similar with its own headphones now, and it seems Apple’s patent is heading in the same direction.

The systems and methods described herein may be used, for example, to detect a gesture (e.g., a swipe) received as user input on a touch interface of the headphones, such as a touch interface integrated into an ear piece. The gesture may be made in a particular direction, such as down toward Earth.

Those gestures could do all kinds of things including swiping up to increase the volume and down to decrease it. For that to work properly, Apple wants the headphones to know their orientation – whether they’re placed around a neck or on a head. It wants to make sure that up is up, for example.

Some embodiments of the disclosure provide systems and methods of detecting headphone rotation to properly process user input to the headphones … Headphones may be worn in a plurality of configurations, such as upright with the headband around the top of the head, downward witromh the headband around the back of the neck, or anywhere in between. Thus, the systems and methods described herein may be used to determine the rotation of the headphones in order to properly ascertain the intended gesture and perform an intended result.


Similar patents have previously shown that Apple could also have the headphones automatically recognize which ear is the left or right, too – allowing there to be no dedicated left or right earcup, for example.

(Via: Patently Apple)

You may also like to check out:

You can follow us on Twitter, or Instagram, and even like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple, and the Web.