Apple’s Health-Centric AirPods Can Disrupt Health Device Market


Apple's health ambitions for AirPods might go beyond their ability to improve hearing. Wall Street Journal has reported that the Cupertino-based company is exploring ways to use its AirPods as health-centric devices. The company might use AirPods as hearing aids, and they might also come in handy as motion sensors to fix the posture of the users.


Apple AirPods

If the leaked documents are to be believed, a prototype might come equipped with a thermometer that will check the core temperature of the user's body. We might not see these features until 2022, and they might not be for the whole lineup as well. Apple is yet to comment on the development.

Technical Hurdles Apple Needs To Overcome

Technical Hurdles Apple Needs To Overcome

The company's plans of turning AirPods into a health device could be met with many hiccups. Apple would likely need regulatory clearance for at least some of the planned features. However, an FDA ruleset due for 2022 might make things easy for the iPhone maker. But there's still a chance it would take several months to get the approval. Bose faced a similar issue before its SoundControl hearing aids were approved by the FDA.

Besides, there are a few technical hurdles. As of now, AirPods Pro only offers up to four and a half hours of listening and around three and a half hours for calling. However, that kind of battery backup might not be sufficient for health wearables that might require an all-day battery. Moreover, the device also needs to score high on comfort and adapt to different types of hearing loss.

As per Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins, around 28 million Americans are estimated to suffer from mild hearing loss; however, only 5% use a hearing aid. Moreover, 12 million have moderate hearing loss, though only 37% take the help of a hearing aid.

New AirPods Could Change The Game For Good

New AirPods Could Change The Game For Good

Apple's new AirPods can disrupt the segment and can break the long-going stigma associated with conventional hearing aids, which often prevent people from using them. The device is also expected to cost less than traditional hearing aids.

AirPods are leading the way in the global Bluetooth headphones market, minting $12.8 billion in revenue in 2020, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Its revenue is five times more than what Bose raked in.

Thanks to a wide range of sensors such as mics, amplifier, and an advanced processor, AirPods Pro already pack much of the required technology to help sufferers of mild or moderate hearing loss. The hearing aid market is the playground for only a handful of firms, making their products expensive.

AirPods 3 On The Cards

AirPods 3 On The Cards

While the health-centric AirPods might be a year away, Apple is expected to launch the third generation of its original AirPods. The company has sent out media invites for its October 18 Spring event. If we go by the leaked renders, AirPods 3 will borrow design elements from the Pro variant, but with a shorter stem.

Earlier reports suggested the new device will come with the same H1 chip seen on the AirPods 2 but will bring upgrades in the battery department, playback controls, and the audio output. Besides, the AirPods 3 is said to come sans Active Noise Cancellation, which could be a deal-breaker for some.

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