AirPods 3 know how to distinguish skin from other surfaces

The 3rd generation AirPods, presented earlier this week by Apple, incorporate new technologies for the manufacturer’s wireless headphones. They incorporate a skin detection sensor unmatched on other AirPods ranges.

The AirPods 3 are the new mid-range offering in Apple’s family of wireless headphones. But who says mid-range does not necessarily mean discount! Admittedly, the more expensive AirPods Pro (279 €, against 199 € for the new headphones) have for them active noise reduction and Transparency mode, as well as the new accessibility function that amplifies the listening of conversations.

Lots of technology in these little headphones

But the new AirPods have a longer battery life of 6 hours per earpiece and 30 hours with the charging case, compared to 4.5 hours for the AirPods Pro (24 hours with their case). And that’s not all. They also incorporate a skin detection sensor that allows it to better identify the surface on which they rest.

The AirPods 3 should thus be able to distinguish whether they are in the ear, in the hands or in a pocket. This means that they will be better than AirPods Pro at pausing music or restarting it automatically! This is currently one of the weak points of in-ear headphones.

The TrendForce firm gave technical details on this new sensor, which should be able to detect the water content of the skin: a way like any other to distinguish surfaces. The AirPods 3 embed a technology, photoplethysmography, which is none other than an in-ear detection mechanism based on sensors equipped with four short-wave infrared LEDs. These have two different wavelengths and two InGaAs photodiodes.

This technology could quickly find its way into other competing headphones, but in the meantime Apple is leading the way.

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