What you need to know
- A new report says future AirPods will include ambient light sensors.
- The report doesn't say what the new sensors will be used for.
- They could be part of a health initiative.
Apple is set to add ambient light sensors (ALS) to a future pair of AirPods, according to a tease of a future DigiTimes report. But that teaser doesn't say why.
While the full report might have more information, all we currently have to work with is a claim that ALS will be added to AirPods within the next two years.
So why would Apple add such sensors to earbuds? AirPods already know when they are inside your ears thanks to the optical sensors that are present. It's unlikely that those sensors would be replaced which leaves us with the possibility that a new feature could be on the – admittedly far away – horizon. And that could be related to health.
Apple already makes a considerable health play with Apple Watch. But a patent from October last year suggested that it was looking to bring similar functionality to AirPods. That could include tracking a wearer's heart rate, temperature, and more.
The use of ALS could allow this patent to come to fruition – fingers crossed that the full DigiTimes report will shed some more light on Apple's plans.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.