90mmWhile Apple’s seemingly-ubiquitous white earbuds have never been known for their sound quality, that may be about to change.

According to a new patent, Apple wants to create earbuds that detect when there’s a bad seal between the earbud and the wearer’s ear, and compensate for the difference in sound quality.

Why is having a good seal so important? Here’s what Apple had to say in the filing:

A poor seal generally results in poor earbud performance. For example, a poor seal may change the acoustic properties of the enclosed cavity in a way that disrupts the normal operation of the earbud speaker. Bass response may be significantly reduced. Noise cancellation performance may also suffer. A poorly sealed earbud may also sound much quieter to the user than a well sealed earbud, so a poor seal may adversely affect the balance between right and left channels during stereo playback.

If you’ve ever tried in-ear earbuds, you probably know exactly the sensation of having a seal come ever-so-slightly loose, just enough for one ear to be louder than the other. What Apple wants to do, according to this new patent, is use detection of a seal loss to automatically adjust volume, equalizer and noise cancellation settings. That way, even if an earbud is loose, you shouldn’t lose too much sound quality.

Ultimately, the tech won’t solve any underlying fit issues, which is why Apple’s patent also discusses a system for notifying the user that there’s a poor seal between the earbud and his or her ear.

What do you think: is this the future of earbuds?

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  • http://www.thesimtopianportal.devhub.com/ Gloria J Puel

    I don’t care what adjustments they make to those Earbuds. I’m still NOT going to use them! The damn things just plain hurt my ears! I will NOT jam ANYTHING INTO MY EARS! I’m a small person, with petite features. Apple’s Earbuds…along with the earbuds used by makers of other MP3 Players and assorted devices employing similar earphones just DO NOT allow for differences in body structures! Some people are large, some are small, and others fall into place somewhere between the two extremes. Who wants to use headphones that are made to be forcibly SCREWED INTO THEIR EARS! I want something soft and painless.

  • Celest

    I must wonder if “better sealing” earbuds are good for the health of your ears.

  • Mark Jacob

    Like this post!

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