According to a new report, Apple is working on groundbreaking health features for its AirPods, including a USB-C case and a built-in hearing test. These features are expected to enhance the user experience and solidify AirPods’ position as more than just wireless earbuds.
Apple is reportedly developing a built-in hearing test for AirPods
As revealed by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his “Power On,” newsletter, Apple is preparing to introduce a USB-C case for its AirPods Pro. With the upcoming iPhone 15 lineup set to transition from Lightning to USB-C ports, it makes sense for Apple to align its AirPods with the same charging standard. This move is also in compliance with the EU’s common charging standard. While no official release date has been announced, industry insiders suggest that this update may come alongside the iPhone 15 launch this fall.
Furthermore, Apple is developing a new hearing test feature for its AirPods. By playing various tones in the user’s ear, AirPods could gauge the user’s hearing abilities and potentially screen for any hearing issues. This feature aligns with Apple’s commitment to user health, similar to how the Apple Watch’s ECG app detects heart problems. While third-party apps currently provide audiogram profiles, Apple’s inclusion of a built-in hearing test feature could streamline the process and offer a more integrated experience.
Building on its focus on hearing health, Apple is exploring the possibility of positioning AirPods Pro as hearing aids. The recent FDA approval of over-the-counter sales of hearing aids without a prescription opens up new opportunities for Apple. The company has reportedly hired engineers experienced in traditional hearing aid technology, signaling its dedication to leveraging AirPods as a hearing aid alternative.
Another potential health feature in the works is the ability of AirPods to measure body temperature via the ear canal. While this technology was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 8, utilizing the ear canal may provide a more accurate reading compared to the wrist. Monitoring body temperature through AirPods could be particularly useful for detecting early signs of illness or tracking menstrual cycles.
While these health features show great promise, Gurman cautions that they may be several months or even years away from being available to consumers. Additionally, it is unlikely that Apple will launch a new AirPods Pro model anytime soon, as the product typically follows a three-year refresh cycle. However, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested a USB-C version of the AirPods Pro could arrive later this year.