Tech for your connected self

Week in wearable: Apple's noise cancelling AirPods and LG's next smartwatch

Boy, has it been going off this week

Hey, we made it through another week. And to celebrate continued health and happiness, and football coming home, we're going to hit you with the three biggest wearable tech stories from the week gone by.

Elsewhere on the site, we've been occupied testing out the Misfit Command, diving into wearable adoption in professional sports and handing out advice on the art of naming to startups, but plenty more has been hitting the headlines over the past seven days.

Below, we've got word on new Apple AirPods, LG's next smartwatch and Qualcomm's kids smartwatch push to catch you up on, but for everything else head over to our dedicated news section.

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Smarter Apple AirPods are in the works

Week in wearable: Apple's noise cancelling AirPods and LG's next smartwatch surface

Apple AirPods may be floating around in the ears of people around the world, but they're by no means the smartest wireless earbuds you can pick up. Especially for that price - yeesh.

But, according to sources of Bloomberg, Apple is planning to upgrade the toothbrush-head earrings with two key new features - noise cancelling and a water resistant design. And the smarts may not stop there, either, with conversations regarding the addition of biometric sensors, such as a heart rate monitor, also taking place inside Apple HQ.

Of course, any improvement in the smart category would be welcome, but it's worth pointing out that the purported Pods still wouldn't be completely resistant (sorry, swimmers), and the cost of such a pair would also allegedly be higher than the current generation.

Such changes also won't be hitting users ears until 2019, with a more incremental update reportedly coming this September, bringing improved Bluetooth connectivity and Siri support.

On the Is This Bullshit (ITB) scale, we'd give this a 3/10 and suggest that the majority of the above actually feels fairly likely to come true at some point. It'd be surprising if we saw Apple dabble with biometrics as early as next year, but noise cancelling (given that audio quality is already high on the priorities of the company's smart speaker, HomePod) and a sweat-resistant design would make very natural progressions.

Libre could be the name of LG's next watch

Week in wearable: Apple's noise cancelling AirPods and LG's next smartwatch surface

We've been hearing whispers about LG's follow-up to the Watch Sport and Watch Style since the start of 2018, and a trademark granted to the company may have just shone a light on the name of the upcoming smartwatch.

Picked up by LetsGoDigital, the IP application, granted in Korea and filed under 'smartwatches', tags the device as Libre and suggests it will feature LTE. As also pointed out by the publication, the word libre means 'free' in both French and Spanish, potentially tipping its cap towards the untethered nature of the watch.

Other than that, though, there's little to go off here. As we say, we've previously heard rumblings about new LG smartwatches named the Iconic and Icon. Then there was also talk about the LG Timepiece, a smartwatch that would apparently put physical hands on top of a Wear OS touchscreen display.

Then, in May, a new LG watch rocking the model number LM-W315 and someone from the company began detailing a watch landing in June with the very same model number. Again, none of this makes it any clearer to get a grip on a release date or specific features, but the noise is deafening with regard to an LG smartwatch - it's likely this one is imminent.


Qualcomm set for kids smartwatch push

Week in wearable: Apple's noise cancelling AirPods and LG's next smartwatch surface

As The Simpsons' Helen Lovejoy once said, "Won't somebody think of the children?". And when it comes to children and wearable tech, Qualcomm certainly is. Building on the Snapdragon 1200 platform it unveiled last year, which was aimed at enabling a generation of fitness trackers for youths, now the company is set to target smartwatches.

And it appears the Snapdragon Wear 2500 chip is built with two key things in mind: big battery life and a sensor hub that powers location tracking, 4G LTE and a version of Android that's friendly for kid users.

Interestingly, Huawei is set to become the lead partner for the Wear 2500 platform, with samples heading to manufacturing partners and a full development kit available soon.

As we've pointed out endlessly, privacy is the one constant with relation to wearables designed for kids. And when asked about how the Wear 2500 chip would help protect sensitive information about children, Qualcomm noted that it will work to adhere to children's data laws. It also highlighted its current pillars of IoT security - software integrity, data protection, device authentication, firmware upgrades and user authentication - so everything would appear to be above board here.


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