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Cameras on AirPods in 2026 ? Funny idea, but not so far-fetched

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The third generation AirPods, as well as the second generation AirPods Pro, feature motion sensors that allow these wireless headphones to optimize the immersive audio experience, on compatible apps, based on the user's movements. These sensors also allow Apple to offer interactions with Siri, which allow you to say “yes” or “no” to the assistant by shaking or nodding your head. And apparently, in addition to this motion sensor, future AirPods could also be equipped with… cameras.

Apple's funny idea

This is, in any case, what is suggested by a publication by analyst Ming Chi Kuo, a source who is generally well informed about future Apple products. At first glance, this may seem extravagant. Indeed, we don't really see what a camera can be used for on a wireless earphone. However, it is important to clarify that, according to Kuo, the camera that Apple plans to integrate into future AirPods would not be a traditional sensor, but rather an infrared camera comparable to the sensor used by Apple for facial recognition on the iPhone . The sensor would therefore not be used to take photos, but, according to the analyst, it could be useful when the AirPods are used with the Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

“The infrared camera can detect environmental image changes, potentially enabling gesture control in the air to improve human-device interaction. It should be noted that Apple has filed related patents in this area”, we read in Kuo's publication. In other words, the infrared camera could allow Apple to offer new ways to control AirPods, or the Vision Pro headset. Otherwise, it should be noted that this is not the first time that this idea has been mentioned in the press. In February, Mark Gurman, journalist at Bloomberg, claimed that Apple had even explored the idea of ​​equipping the AirPods with real cameras to allow the headphones to capture data which would then be processed by an AI to assist the user.

The AirPods of the future in 2026?

Analyst Ming Chi Kuo’s publication provides more specific information. According to it, the next generation AirPods with integrated infrared camera could enter production in 2026. Kuo also indicates that Apple's supplier for this product, Foxconn, would have an annual capacity of 18 to 20 million units , or around ten million AirPods. But of course, since the information mentioned in this article does not come from an official source, caution remains in order.

In any case, Ming Chi Kuo seems certain that the next AirPods will be designed to work alongside mixed reality headsets. As a reminder, Apple currently only sells the Vision Pro, which is available from 3,999 euros in France. However, rumors are already circulating about a more affordable version of this headset. And recent rumors have suggested that Apple has even suspended development of the Vision Pro 2, in order to focus on this affordable version.

  • New AirPods rumors suggest a new version will have a camera
  • According to analyst Ming Chi Kuo, it is not a traditional camera, but an infrared camera
  • This sensor could be used to control the device, and the next AirPods should also be optimized for the Vision Pro
  • Apple plans to begin production of these AirPods of the future in 2026 , with a capacity of around ten million AirPods per year

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116