One day, your Apple AirPods Pro 2 could tell you as much about your health as your Apple Watch Series 8. According to his latest “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple will be pursuing health tracking metrics more doggedly in future updates to the AirPods.
To wit, Gurman believes (opens in new tab) that the AirPods will “become a health tool” in the next year or two and will have “the ability to get hearing data of some sort”.
Corroborating those claims, Apple has filed two patents that describe an advanced biometrics sensor like the one Gurman is talking about. The latest, U.S. Patent No. 9,497,534 (opens in new tab) detailed by MacRumors (opens in new tab), describes an earbud-based fitness monitoring system that could track temperature, heart rate, perspiration levels and more.
What this means for the future of AirPods
Admittedly, the prediction that AirPods will one day incorporate health tracking metrics is a bit vague, even for someone like Gurman who routinely predicts that AirPods are getting some sort of upgrade. It's basically like saying that it’s going to be nighttime sometime in the next 24 hours. It’s obviously going to happen.
As far back as a year ago, we had heard that Apple would add health-tracking features to the AirPods from another Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. Those predictions somewhat came true in the latest iteration of the true wireless earbuds with Live Listen and Conversation Boost — two features that can help the hearing impaired.
That said, none of the AirPods’ accessibility features have been cleared with the FDA as a full-on replacement for hearing aids, and the built-in sensors can only tell when the earbuds are in or out of the ear canal and can’t collect any important health information. In short, they don't have the health tracking credibility of the Apple Watch.
From the sounds of things, that’s what Apple will be targeting in the Apple AirPods 4 when those inevitably come our way in the next few years. If only someone knew how soon that was going to happen...