Mark Gurman, in his most recent Power On newsletter, has shared that Apple is developing new health-centric functionalities for its audio product line. The foremost of these would enable AirPods to carry out a hearing assessment. As pointed out by The Verge, audiogram profiles, which can be utilized by iOS to fine-tune the earbuds’ output to compensate for hearing impairment, are already supported by AirPods. Presently, these profiles can be created using third-party apps such as Mimi, thus if Apple decides to create its own test, it would be another case of the tech giant appropriating a feature initially developed by a third party.
In another piece of news, Gurman shares that Apple is contemplating ways to brand and sell AirPods Pro as an over-the-counter hearing aid, following the FDA’s relaxation of the buying process last year. He informs that the company has recently brought on board engineers skilled in working on conventional hearing aids, as part of this effort.
Another novel feature that Apple is reportedly working on is a method for the earbuds to gauge body temperature. The feature of an integrated temperature sensor was previously introduced in Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra. The reason for Apple duplicating an existing feature is that the ear canal can provide a more accurate temperature reading compared to the wrist.
However, Gurman cautions that both these features could be several months, if not years, away. He reports that in the shorter term, Apple is planning to upgrade the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case, and predicts that the company will eventually shift all its audio products from Lighting to this standard. This transition is a necessary step to adhere to the EU’s new universal charging standard. Despite this USB-C transition, Gurman doesn’t foresee a sudden launch of entirely new AirPods Pro hardware, considering the recent refresh of the earbuds last year.
In the meantime, Gurman anticipates that AirPods users can look forward to new software features that Apple promised to roll out with iOS 17. These enhancements include a new button to mute calls and improvements in device switching. Additionally, he speculates a permanent price cut for the second-generation AirPods, from $129 to $99, to remain competitive against low-cost options from Samsung, Sony, and Amazon.
Every product recommended by BuyTechBlog is handpicked by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Our stories may contain affiliate links and if a purchase is made through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are accurate at the time of publication.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Apple AirPods health features
What new health features are Apple developing for its audio product line?
Apple is working on new functionalities for its audio product line that include the ability for AirPods to conduct a hearing test and measure body temperature.
How would the hearing test feature on AirPods work?
AirPods already support audiogram profiles, which iOS can use to fine-tune the output of the earbuds to adjust for hearing loss. The new feature would allow these profiles to be generated directly through Apple’s own test.
Why is Apple working on a feature to measure body temperature through AirPods?
A sensor in the earbuds can get a more accurate temperature reading from the ear canal than one on the wrist, which is why Apple is considering adding this feature to the AirPods.
What changes is Apple planning for the AirPods Pro charging case?
Apple plans to upgrade the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case, as part of a shift away from the current Lighting standard to comply with the EU’s new common charging standard.
Are the new features for the AirPods available now?
No, the new features are still under development and could be several months, or even years, away from being introduced.
What new software features can AirPods users expect with iOS 17?
Apple plans to introduce a new button press to mute calls and improvements to device switching with iOS 17.
Is Apple planning to reduce the price of its second-generation AirPods?
Mark Gurman speculates that Apple might permanently lower the price of its second-generation AirPods to $99 to remain competitive against low-cost options from Samsung, Sony, and Amazon.