New Apple AirPods could have a camera, reports claim

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Upcoming Apple AirPods could include camera, according to a new report.

The company is planning to start making new earphones with “camera models” in 2026. That’s according to a report from usually reliable Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo, echoing an earlier report from Bloomberg.

The cameras will include an infrared camera of the kind that is currently included in the iPhone. There, it is use to take the scans required for the Face ID security feature.

But the AirPods’ cameras will instead be focused on allowing the earphones to integrate with Vision Pro and be part of Apple’s idea of spatial computing, where sound and other content is projected in the space.

That might mean that a person wearing the earphones with a Vision Pro would be able to turn their head and have the audio scan the room and reflect that, the report suggested.

It might also allow the AirPods to track changes in the environment, which might mean that people could control them simply by gesturing with their arms, the report suggested.

Ming-chi Kuo’s reports tend to focus on Apple’s supply chain, and the report specifically pointed to the fact that manufacturer Foxconn is working on new infrared cameras for use with the AirPods. Often, that means his reports might miss the full detail of how those products will actually be used.

It echoes a previous report from Bloomberg that indicated Apple was looking into a range of wearable form factors. That might also include smart glasses, for instance – Meta currently makes such a pair with Ray-Ban, though they only include a traditional camera.

It is not clear whether the AirPods would use the infrared camera in the same way the iPhone and iPad do, for security and biometric authentication. But that could potentially mean that the AirPods are aware of who is wearing them – and whether it is the person who owns them.

Apple does already include some features for when AirPods are lost. They can be tracked in the Find My app, for instance, and can be marked as “lost” in there to show information on who owns them in case they are found.