Instead of headphones only being for your personal enjoyment, a new patent from Apple could turn them inside out so they function as speakers when placed on a surface. These dual mode headphones can be connected to an electronic device like a mobile phone to provide an audio output.
According to Patently Apple, they can be moved between an in-ear position and a speaker position, with sensors that detect which position the headphones are currently in and adjust the sound levels accordingly. When in speaker mode, they would activate a powered amplifier for louder audio. These modes could also be manually selected, and there would be sensors for preventing speaker mode when the headphones are positioned near a user’s ears.