The future of noise-canceling headphones and iPhone keyboards

The world is a noisy place. High-end headphones are getting better at shutting it out; solid noise-canceling headphones from Sony, Bose, and others are increasingly a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time on planes and trains, or in coffee shops full of people pitching AI startups. It’s a sanity thing, really.

But there are already people working on a giant leap in active noise cancellation. Instead of just blocking all the sound around you, the next generation of headphones might block all the sound you don’t want — but let in all the things you do want to hear. And someday, it might even be able to do that automatically. Your headphones could block out your annoying friend but not your cool friend; could hush the vacuum but not the cat; could perfectly remove the background noise from your voice notes but keep your speaking crystal clear.

On this episode of The Vergecast, Will Poor goes to a lab and puts the deeply prototype-y headphones of the future on his head — then comes back to tell us how it went.

After that, we chat with MrMobile himself, Michael Fisher, about the long history of smartphone keyboards, his new startup Clicks, and why he thinks it’s time your iPhone looked a little more like an old BlackBerry.

Finally, we answer a question from the Vergecast Hotline (+1-866-VERGE11) about which microphones to buy if you want to go all Ken Burns on your family videos. We have some thoughts and some options.

If you want to know more about everything we discuss in this episode, here are some links to get you started, beginning with headphones:

And our headphone options:

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