Apple Airpods 3rd gen | Image source: Apple

The next chapter of Apple AirPods: Health-centric features

The tech juggernaut Apple, is rumoured to be working on a series of health-related features for its AirPods, signalling a shift in the device’s functioning. This move is consistent with the company’s overall objective of incorporating health and wellness aspects into its products, converting them to potentially life-saving gadgets.

The evolution of AirPods

Since its introduction in 2016, Apple’s AirPods have emerged as a game changer in the wireless earbuds sector, becoming a cultural symbol in the process. Their principal tasks at first were wireless music playback, phone management, and interaction with Siri, Apple’s voice-activated assistant. However, the company has constantly improved the AirPods over time, adding new features and improving their performance. In addition to the vanilla version, over time the product line has grown to include the advanced AirPods Pro and the premium AirPods Max.

In 2019, Apple released the second-generation AirPods, which included the H1 chip. This new microprocessor facilitated faster device switching and enabled hands-free contact with Siri. Later that year, Apple released the AirPods Pro, which had active noise cancellation, a customised fit, and greater sound quality.

This was followed by the third generation AirPods on October 18, 2021. Amongst other changes, these were modified to look like the AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and identical force-touch controls.

Health and wellness: The new frontier

Apple’s emphasis on health and wellbeing is nothing new. The Apple Watch, for example, can detect loud situations and irregular heart rhythms, and the company has already built hearing aid-like functions into its AirPods, such as Conversation Boost and Live Listen. The new AirPods plans, however, reflect a considerable increase of the health focus.

This is according to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, a reliable tech analyst. In his latest newsletter he states that Apple’s future plans for the AirPods include advanced health tracking. The potential features include hearing tests using various tones and sounds, enabling the AirPods to screen for hearing complications.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

In addition to hearing health, Apple is planning to use the AirPods for general wellness tracking. One of the most notable features will be the addition of body temperature sensors, which would collect data via the ear canal. This method could potentially offer more precise readings compared to wrist temperatures obtained by the Apple Watch. The company aims to use this data to detect potential illnesses such as colds, marking a significant step towards predictive health monitoring.

The future of AirPods

The recent loosening of laws governing the purchasing of hearing aids by the United States Food and Drug Administration has created new prospects for Apple. According to reports, the business has engaged experts from traditional hearing aid makers to work on the next-generation AirPods products.

The anticipated new features for the AirPods, although not expected until 2024 at the earliest, signify a major transformation in the device’s capabilities. Moreover, the potential integration of the hearable with the Apple Watch could help to create a comprehensive health monitoring ecosystem.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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