Apple's HomePod did not quite dominate the industry in the way its phones and tablets (but anyway) but the basic technology that helps a smart speaker is undoubtedly impressive. So it's no surprise that the company is thinking about using the same beamforming technology – which allows speakers to automatically adjust the size and shape of the room – in the overhead headphones with an over-headphone.
In the new Apple patent released this week (via 9to5Mac), the company describes two potential uses of beam forming in their headphones, which would first make reversible headphones automatically by detecting which ear cup to which the ear. Apple describes how it will work at a technical level in the patent:
The embodiments of the invention generally relate to the system and the procedure for automatically detecting the ears for right-to-left earphones. Specifically, in one embodiment, the headset includes two earbuds that are identical and include at least three microphones for recording audio signals. In another embodiment, each of the ear plugs may be coupled with an ear cap detector receiving microphone signals from at least one of the earbuds and determining which of the earliest babies is carried to the user's right ear.
Another possible case of use would be that the headphones are understandable when you are on a call and automatically block the background noise process called "loud shaping" and that responds to the mouth of the user:
[A] processor […] can be used to perform a loud radius against an oral user to catch the user's speech and make noise that is formed away from the user's mouth to protect the environment's noise.
Apple Headphone Headphone Announcements began to appear early this year, and later they supported the Bloomberg report in July. Headphones are supposed to be launched in 2019.