A new Bluetooth certification by Apple reveals AirPods 2 are on their way. Moreover, they could have health-tracking sensors baked in.
Essential reading: Smart earbuds – top biometric headphones
As discovered by MySmartPrice, the filing was made on November 1st with the Bluetooth Special Interests Group. This is the standards organization that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of the Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.
The listing advises that AirPods 2 have received certification for Bluetooth 5.0, which extends the range and possibly battery life from the first generation product. Two models are mentioned, A2031 and A2032. It is not clear whether these are two distinct iterations of the same product or the filing simply refers to the fact that there are two units in each pair.
The Bluetooth certification reveals little else. However, Patently Apple has recently spotted that Apple has updated trademark filings from Hong Kong and Europe to include a new Class 10 designation. This covers wellness sensors and wasn’t present in the original trademark.
“Class 10: General wellness instruments, namely, health, fitness, exercise, and wellness sensors, monitors, speakers and displays for measuring, displaying, tracking, reporting, monitoring, storing, and transmitting biometric data, heart rate, body movement, and calories burned…”
This is not the first we’ve heard of health-tracking AirPods. Apple has filed a number of patent applications in the recent past indicating it has serious ambitions in this area. The patents describe biometrics sensors that could monitor heart rate, physical activity and stress. Some even mention EKG and impedance cardiography sensors that monitor the electrical activity of the heart. Unfortunately, we have yet to see anything materialize.
Biometric sensors are not entirely new and there is a healthy selection of devices already on the market. The ear provides a great platform for doing this kind of biometric measurement. Earbuds, rather than watches, tend to be the most accurate heart-rate monitors, outperformed only by traditional chest straps.
Other expected revisions for AirPods 2 include an upgraded wireless charging case and better Siri integration. The appearance of the filing with the Bluetooth Special Interests Group means the product has undergone testing with the group. But it doesn’t offer any info on when they’ll be released.
There’s an off-chance that new AirPods could hit the market before the end of the year. It is more likely, though, we’ll see them sometime in 2019.
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