Apple removed the headphone jack. Soon, it may take away something else – the L and R on the headphones.
Microphones in the ear cups would detect which ear is which and send each ear the proper signals, according to an application for headphone technology filed by Apple with the United States Patient and Trademark Office.
This would make the headphones reversible.
Currently, it matters which ear cup goes where. The right and left ears register sounds differently. The right is more tuned into voices where the left responds more to music, studies show.
Audio engineers record music as they intend it to be heard. Vocals may be set for one side, lead guitar for another and the stereo signal is arranged in a kind of soundstage.
Some might say there’s no difference which ear hears what. The difference though is more obvious while watching a video. If a loud plane flies into the scene from the left, it will feel odd if the sound appears in your right ear.
According to Apple’s patent request, a series of microphones in each ear cup would make the adjustment based on the ear cup nearest your mouth.
The array of microphones would also be able to discern between a voice and background noises, similar to the beamforming technology Apple’s HomePod uses to adjust sound output based on the shape of rooms.
Discovery of the patent application leads some observers to believe Apple is developing its own brand of high-end, over-ear headphones.
Many patents never come to the intended devices, but as 9to5Mac said, “this one seems a likely bet.”