Based on a new Apple patent application published by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the AirPods may soon require Touch ID, Face ID, or other new biometric authentications, such as identifying the user’s inner ear construction, to fully operate (via Patently Apple).
Apple notes that headphones communicatively coupled to an iPhone can provide a useful interface between human users and electronic devices. However, traditional systems are not well equipped to determine whether a user wearing a respective set of headphones is an authorized user of a corresponding device.
As a result, “conventional systems may risk releasing personal information from an associated device to unauthorized wearers of corresponding headphones.”
“The authorization of the user may be based on obtaining biometric information from a device, such as the wireless headphones. Biometric information associated with an ear of the user may be obtained from wireless headphones.
In accordance with a determination that the obtained biometric information corresponds to reference biometric information (e.g., a reference inner-ear representation), the user is identified as an authorized user of wireless headphones and associated a mobile device.”
Apple says that by using additional factors such as biometrics, and voice, the system improves accuracy by providing additional layers of authentication when required.