Apple touted a massive number of updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote this week, but the AirPods-centered feature was left out of the presentation.
The company’s industry-leading fully wireless headphones will be getting a small but interesting software update, one that allows them to act like a low-budget set of hearing aids.
As first noted by TechCrunch, Live Listen is coming to the AirPods with the iOS 12 update, letting iPhone users position their iPhones as a directional mic and have the audio relayed through the AirPods.
Apple in 2014 introduced a Live Listen feature that’s designed to allow the iPhone to pair with hearing aids and then serve as a remote microphone that beams the audio the iPhone picks up to the hearing aids.
Debuted in 2016 as part of Apple’s Made for iPhone program, Live Listen is a Bluetooth-based solution that grants supported hearing aids streaming access to an iPhone’s microphone. With the IOS 12 software, Live Listen will include the capability to turn your iPhone into a directional microphone. The feature has been offered in Made for iPhone hearing aids for years and has let people with hearing problems better pick up conversations being held around them.
How it works
When using the yet to launch feature, while using your iPhone it will works as a remote microphone to home in on sound in noisy environments. You can place your iPhone at the other end of a conference table or the other side of a crowded room and then pipe the sound directly to your ears. Some hearing aid companies, like Starkey, even enable the microphone feature to record conversations.
For example, users at a busy restaurant can set their iPhone down on the table, select “Restaurant” from the preset menu and stream relatively noise-free audio directly to their AirPods. Alternatively, an iPhone might be placed in front of a television set across the room, allowing those with hearing difficulties to listen in on their favorite shows at normal volumes.
This could be the beginning of many other amazing things that could come to AirPods or Apple users. The feature in AirPods wireless headphone will launch when the new iOS 12 mobile platform rolls out across Apple devices.