A newly granted Apple patent shows that a future version of its EarPods will contain biometric sensors, and can be worn in either ear.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has an online version of the now approved application, complete with diagrams and explanations of the technology.
The biometrics will come in the form of one or more sensors, the document specifically mentioning the tragus (the small backwards-pointing area roughly in the centre of the ear) as a place where a sensor would make contact with the body.
Continuing on, the patent document details that the housing of these AirPods would allow them to be placed in either ear, and that components within the case would detect which ear it was placed in and change its function accordingly.
Other smaller changes include the use of a flexible foam fitting, attached to two posts at the top and bottom of the main section in either a ring shape or as two ‘wings’ as the explanation calls them, to secure the earbud in place. While presumably being more comfortable and more easily fittable to various shapes of ears, the alteration was made in the interest of keeping any sensors in the correct position. This would be a clear departure from the hard plastic design that Apple has been using for many years.
Other recent AirPods rumours include the prediction by an Apple analyst that the long-awaited wireless charging case would soon become available, and that the earbuds themselves would get a large update, including health tracking, by 2020. After a couple of years without changes, the momentum of AirPod upgrades is starting to build.