Measures from Apple to solve the problem of controlling AirPods Pro

Apple's AirPods Pro solves one of the trickiest parts of earphone design with a unique button officially referred to as the force sensor. The force sensor is technically a serrated part of the AirPods Pro's stems, with some devices measuring capacitive touch and pressure as well.

But the dummy buttons solve one of the most annoying things about earphones: how to control them, and the issue of controlling wireless earphones is relatively new. Older in-ear headphones often included a row of buttons across their wires, which allowed volume and playback controls to be easily accessible and found.

But wireless in-ear headphones don't leave much room for buttons or ways to control playback, forcing manufacturers to come up with alternative solutions. Touch controls used by headphones such as Galaxy Buds or regular AirPods appeared as the most popular answer. For example, you can single, double, or triple-tap through the earbuds to play, pause, and skip your tracks. But the problem is that the earphones are inside the ear.

The clicking controls mean that you either painfully push or dislodge these earbuds sometimes into your ear, and you risk losing or damaging them when they fall to the ground. 

Apple avoids these two problems with the force sensor

Instead of putting pressure on your ear, Apple makes users apply pressure to the stem of the AirPod. This method does not move the earpiece as much, which reduces the problem of discomfort and the risk of falling. The controls for AirPods are very similar to other ways to control the headset.

For example, single tap to switch between play and pause, double-tap to skip track forward, and triple tap to skip backward. There's also a fourth long press, which toggles the different noise-canceling modes.

The design also guides you on how to use it and where to press to activate the button, while it is difficult to activate the button inadvertently because it needs some slight force. There is no physical tactile feedback from the force sensor. But Apple makes you feel like you're pressing a button with the sound effects of the clicks being transmitted through the earbuds.

Apple is rumored to be testing a new version of AirPods Pro that will remove the previous and force sensor entirely.

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