A new US Patent & Trademark Office filing shows Apple is very serious about adding biometric sensing to its AirPods.
It is no secret the Cupertino outfit has been working on health tracking headphones for a number of years now. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone. A recent report from market research firm CCS Insight, predicts good days ahead for hearables. The category is projected to grow from 1.5 million units shipped last year, to 6 million this year and a whopping 30 million in 2022. In fact, hearables and smartwatches are projected to fuel wearables sales in the next five years.
The ear provides a great platform for biometric measurement. It is a little know fact that earbuds, rather than watches, tend to be the most accurate heart-rate monitors on the market, outperformed only by traditional chest straps.
Essential reading: Smart earbuds – top biometric headphones
The latest patent was filed just four months ago, which would indicate that Apple is actively working on the product. The application describes earbuds configured with one or more biometric sensors.
“…At least one of the biometric sensors is configured to be pressed up against a portion of the tragus for making biometric measurements. In some embodiments, the housing of the earbud can be symmetric so that the earbud can be worn interchangeably in either a left or a right ear of a user…” the patent reads.
Its worth noting, this is just a patent application and it might stay just that – a patent application never making it into an actual product. But its not the first of its kind and Apple has filed similar applications in the recent past indicating it has serious ambitions in this area.
There are rumours abound that AirPods 2 and 3 are coming this year and next. Unconfirmed reports indicate the 2018 version will get Siri integration and the 2019 version waterproofing. Perhaps one or both of these will be able to track your health as well.
The full patent application can be seen here.
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