Apple is planning to upgrade AirPods with health monitoring features over the next two years.
That's the latest indication from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who suggests that the Cupertino giant intends to add health tracking functionality relating to hearing data sooner rather than later.
In their latest Power On newsletter, Gurman points toward the fact that the wireless earbuds already offer the 'Live Listen' feature - one that turns the iPhone into a directional microphone and transmits the audio from it to AirPods in real-time.
That feature, as Gurman notes, doesn't have the likes of FDA approval, and therefore isn't really designed to be used as a hearing aid replacement, though it is possible Apple looks to gain it "over the next year or two".
"Given Apple’s goal to make health one of its next big initiatives, I wouldn’t be surprised if the AirPods do eventually take on those functions more officially. That’s something that would help tens of millions of people, if not more," they said.
Of course, the health tracking potential of the AirPods is something Apple itself has acknowledged, with executive Levin Lynch talking up the prospect in an interview back in 2021.
"We already do sensor fusion across some devices today, and I think there’s all kinds of potential here," they said.
Unveiling the Apple Watch Series 8 back in September, CEO Tim Cook also doubled down on comments made back in 2019 regarding the company's focus on health.
"I think that when we look back one day and ask what’s been Apple’s greatest contribution, it will be in health," they said.
And while the details regarding this particular step are still very light, upgrading the AirPods line feels very in line with Apple's on-record vision for the future.
We'd say it's likely we do see significant movement on this either later this year or in 2024, as Gurman suggests.
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