The new AirPods point to a hearing aid mode

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Apple’s AirPods have always received useful features with software updates and with iOS 18 expected to be announced at WWDC on June 10, AirPods could get even more health options.
Apple has heart health features with the Apple Watch, mobility with walking steadiness-detection on the iPhone and safety with fall detection and emergency SOS to name a few.
But I think the AirPods could be another way Apple inches even further into health.
In this week’s episode of One More Thing (embedded above), I take a look at all the rumors about the upcoming AirPods, including a potential hearing aid mode that may launch with iOS 18.
In the future, maybe AirPods could integrate even more sensors such as an EEG for detecting brain activity.
A few years ago, there were rumors of the AirPods Pro getting a heart rate and body temperature sensor.
It’s genuinely helpful to have all this data consolidated in your workout app and not have to wear both a watch and earbuds when you’re working out.
There’s big potential for AirPods to further Apple’s health ambitions, especially because the earbuds are one of the most inexpensive entry points into Apple’s wearable line.

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Software upgrades for Apple’s AirPods have always added helpful features, and iOS 18, which is anticipated to be unveiled at WWDC on June 10, may add even more health-related features. A few of Apple’s features include fall detection and emergency SOS for safety, walking steadiness detection on the iPhone for mobility, and heart health features with the Apple Watch. However, I believe Apple may be taking another step toward health with the AirPods.

I examine all the rumors surrounding the upcoming AirPods, including one about a possible hearing aid mode that might debut with iOS 18, in this week’s episode of One More Thing, which is embedded above. Perhaps in the future, AirPods will incorporate even more sensors, like an EEG to measure brain activity. Apple submitted a patent application in 2023 that depicts an embedded sensor within earbuds.

Rumors surfaced a few years ago that the AirPods Pro would include a body temperature and heart rate sensor. While it hasn’t shown up yet, some earbuds already do this, such as the recently released Sennheiser Momentum Sport. Not needing to wear earbuds and a watch simultaneously while exercising is a true benefit of having all this data combined into one workout app.

Given that the earbuds are among the most affordable wearables offered by Apple, there is a great deal of potential for AirPods to further the company’s health goals. I like how Apple is looking into ways to elevate its wearables beyond entertainment and second-screen devices to full-fledged health tools, even if these patents never make it into a final product.

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