AirPods — Apple’s truly wireless stereo earphones — will reportedly gain support for health-related features that will allow users to monitor their hearing and keep track of their body temperature, while the company plans to position the AirPods Pro as a hearing aid. The popular wireless earphones already allow users to take audiograms using third party apps, while the Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra with rudimentary temperature monitoring. However, the Cupertino company is not expected to release new AirPods and AirPods Pro models in the near future.
In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman states that Apple is working on adding “major” health features to AirPods that will include a test to check how well the wearer can hear sounds. Third-party apps already allow users to generate an audiogram using AirPods Pro, which suggests that Apple’s upcoming ear health monitoring feature could make apps like Mimi obsolete once it is introduced. Gurman also states that Apple is planning to position AirPods as a hearing aid, nearly a year after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed over-the-counter hearing aid sales.
Last year, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra with support for temperature sensing. While these smartwatches is only used for fertility tracking, the company is working to add sensors to AirPods to add the ability to monitor the wearer’s body temperature via the ear canal, according to Gurman. This could be used to warn users in advance that they might be falling ill, he says, adding that these health features are “several months or even years away.”
Like the iPhone 15 series of smartphones, Apple is said to be working on upgrading the AirPods and AirPods Pro to a USB Type-C port. Gurman suggests that Apple could consider slashing the cost of the AirPods (2nd Gen) that were released in 2019 from $129 (roughly Rs. 10,600) to $99 (roughly Rs. 8,100) to better compete with cheaper offerings from rivals.
Earlier this year, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple would launch a version of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) with a USB Type-C port in Q3 2023. Apple has already equipped several devices with the modern port, including recent iPad models and the Siri Remote for the Apple TV. It is worth noting that the first-generation AirPods Pro which were refreshed with a MagSafe-compatible charging case, required customers to buy a fresh pair of earphones along with the charging case.
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