Apple is plotting a raft of new health-focussed features for its AirPods, according to a new report.
The reliable Mark Gurman revealed in his PowerOn newsletter, that the tech giant’s plans involve hearing health features, advanced health tracking, shifting to USB-C charging ports, and integrating AirPods with its Vision Pro headset, which is due to launch next year.
It would bring AirPods back to the original vision of hearables – smarter headphones with health and wellness features.
AirPods would be able to conduct hearing tests, using various tones and sounds, enabling the AirPods to screen for hearing complications, similar to how the Apple Watch ECG app identifies heart irregularities.
Hearing health is already a focus for Apple. The Apple Watch can detect loud environments, and the company has already incorporated hearing aid-like features such as Conversation Boost and Live Listen. These new plans would build on this experience.
But it’s also looking to use AirPods for general wellness.
Apple is also planning to add body temperature sensors, which would collect data via the ear canal.
This would offer a more precise reading compared to wrist temperatures obtained by the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra models during sleep.
According to Gurman, temperature data would go beyond fertility tracking, and Apple intends to extend its application to detect potential illnesses such as colds.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has relaxed rules surrounding the purchase of hearing aids, allowing for over-the-counter sales without the need for an examination or prescription. This has broadened the scope for Apple, which has enlisted engineers from traditional hearing aid manufacturers.
Gurman believes these features will be part of the next-gen AirPods Pro and Max models, which are unlikely to land until next year at the earliest.
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