In near future, your Apple AirPods could have the same amount of health metrics to provide as your Apple Watch. Apple will pursue health tracking features more tenaciously in the next upgrades to the AirPods, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his most recent Power On newsletter.
In the next year or two, the AirPods will “become a health tool” and have the “capacity to acquire hearing data of some form,” according to Gurman. Apple has submitted two patents that detail a sophisticated biometrics sensor similar to the one Gurman is referring to, corroborating the claims made in those patents.
The most recent, described in U.S. Patent No. 9,497,534, according to MacRumors, is a fitness monitoring system based on earbuds that could measure body temperature, heart rate, sweat, and other parameters.
Apple AirPods Could have “Health Tracking Features”
Gurman points out that the Live Listen function, which was included with iOS 12 in 2018, is presently available on AirPods. With the use of this capability, an iPhone may serve as a directional microphone and send real-time audio to AirPods. Gurman predicts that this feature may soon receive regulatory clearance.
However, we first learned that Apple will include health-tracking capabilities in the AirPods from another Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, almost a year ago. With the most recent version of the truly wireless earbuds with Live Listen and Conversation Boost — two capabilities that can aid the hearing challenged — those expectations were partially realized.
The built-in sensors can only detect whether the earbuds are in or out of the ear canal and cannot gather any vital health data, therefore none of the accessibility features of the AirPods have been approved by the FDA as a complete substitute for hearing aids.
In other words, they lack the Apple Watch’s credibility when it comes to health tracking. When the Apple AirPods 4 surely arrive in the next few years, it sounds like Apple will be aiming for that market. If only someone knew when that was going to occur.
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