AirPods of the future could have magnetically-replaceable ear tips

AirPods Pro 2 on a table
(Image credit: iMore)

The AirPods Pro fit perfectly between the cheaper AirPods and the hefty price of AirPods Max thanks to their unique design and cost, yet a recent patent suggests they could get even more unique in the future.

As originally reported by PatentlyApple, future AirPods could get ear tips that magnetically attach to the buds. This is presumably for the AirPods Pro, given traditional AirPods don’t use tips. This could make swapping tips out super easy if you share a pair or want to play a friend a new song you’ve been jamming to. 

PatentlyApple’s report says that future Apple earphones could “include an ear tip that is removably coupled to the earphone housing by first and second sets of magnets such that ear tip can only be attached to the device housing in a single orientation.”

A unique design — iMore’s take

Though I don’t know if magnetic tips will really be more useful or usable than traditional ones, this is an interesting invention that feels very Apple to me. It’s flashy, fun, and could be an efficient way to swap out buds if you are looking to test different kinds out. I would worry about its ability to keep the buds in your ear as you pull the AirPods out but if this does continue to be refined and makes it to market, these difficulties will likely be ironed out. 

The proposed tips employ multiple different sections with magnets, which could imply some sort of lock system where you spin or turn the buds at the right angle to release them from the magnet. Either way, it is just a patent right now so if it does go to market in the future, it will likely be quite different from the initial mockups. 

Acknowledging it’s just a patent right now, I’m not too sure how often I would ever really use a bit of tech like the magnetic buds. Usually, I settle on a bud size I like within a few days of use and stick to that until I need to get a new pair. Perhaps this is a much better idea for someone who likes to swap frequently.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.