Apple is looking at ways to make its AirPods more than just conduits for music and podcasts. The tech giant wants to see the wireless earbuds utilized as thermometers, hearing aids and even monitor a person’s posture.
Apple is also working on technology that aims to use iPhones to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline. AirPods Pro, Apple’s higher-end earbuds, already offer features to improve hearing, including “conversation boost,” launched last week, that increases the volume and clarity of people in front of the wearer.
It continues to offer tools for health and wellness, including an electrical heart sensor and ECG app and a blood oxygen sensor app. The thermometer would be the second that Apple could add to its devices, including a new wrist temperatue sensor Apple may include in next year’s version of the Apple Watch. AirPods may not be suited for some sufferers of hearing loss because they don’t yet have all-day battery life. Also, Apple has been beaten to the hearing-aid market by consumer electronics rival Bose, which sells an FDA-cleared hearing aid that consumers can customize themselves.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is the first Apple Watch to have an IP6X certification for resistance to dust, and maintains a WR50 water resistance rating, the company claimed. The FDA is working to complete safety and effectiveness rules as required by a 2017 law for a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids that consumers can tune themselves. The rules are expected to permit companies like Apple, Bose and Samsung to market cheaper hearing aids.