More Apple AR headset patents allow for hidden cams and removable earbuds

Oculus headset
Oculus headset (Image credit: Oculus)

What you need to know

  • Apple has been rumored to be designing an AR headset.
  • New patents suggest hidden cameras could be included.
  • Removal earphones are also suggested.

More AR headset patents have appeared as if wild pokémon and they suggest that the wearable could have not only hidden cameras, but also earphones that can be removed if needed.

Spotted by Apple Insider, you can read more about the camera patent and the

Starting with the cameras, "Electronic Devices having Electrically Adjustable Optical Layers" appears to suggest that hiding of sensors and cameras may be required. But some may still need openings in the casing in order to function. And Apple has a plan for a cover that could appear and disappear when needed.

Apple's proposal is the use of an electrically-adjustable optical layer to hide the components. By applying an electrical charge, the transparency of the window can be adjusted, allowing the component to work optimally when required.

The patent also appears to suggest that the method of hiding lenses and cameras could also be used on phones if required.

The second patent, "Display System Having an Audio Output Device," describes earphones that can be removed from a headset if and when required. That isn't new functionality and various VR headset designs already encorproate removable earphones. But Apple's implementation appears to also include support for the earphone movements to be reflected via either visual or aural cues.

In the patent application, Apple suggests the movement of the speakers relative to the headset could make changes to a visual or audio element of the user's VR or AR experience. For visual feedback, this could be indicators to show its movement or position relative to the display, while audio changes could be adjustments to the speaker's volume, equalization, or dynamic range.

As always it's important to remember that Apple patents everything its engineers think of so there's no guarentee that any of this will be part of a final AR headset. If a heaset does ever get released, of course. That said, there are so many patents floating around that could relate to such a headset that it's difficult to believe that something isn't afoot.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.