WSJ: Future AirPods could work as hearing aids, monitor temperature and posture

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly working on more health monitoring options for AirPods.
  • New information claims the company is exploring using the buds as hearing aids and for monitoring both temperature and posture.
  • It follows previous reports of enhanced health tracking in future AirPods.

A new report claims Apple is studying the possibility of using future AirPods to enhance hearing and monitor health metrics like temperature and posture.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. is studying ways to make AirPods into a health device, including for enhancing hearing, reading body temperature and monitoring posture, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the plans. The plans further demonstrate Apple's ambition to add health and wellness features to devices beyond the Apple Watch, where most of the company's health functions exist today. Apple is also working on technology that aims to use iPhones to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline, the Journal reported last month.

Apple is expected to unveil a new set of AirPods 3 at its Unleashed event next week alongside a new mini-LED MacBook Pro, but these new features are likely some way off.

WSJ says it is unclear if Apple is developing new hearing-aid features for AirPods, or simply wants to market the existing hearing-improvement features as hearing aids. Apple's best true wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro feature 'conversation boost' that helps people to hear conversations.

The report says the new features are not expected next year and might never see the light of day. It continues:

Apple is already developing prototypes for AirPods to take wearers' core body temperature from inside their ear, according to the documents reviewed by the Journal. The thermometer would be the second that Apple could add to its devices, including a new wrist temperature-sensor Apple may include in next year's version of the Apple Watch, the Journal previously reported.

The buds would also use their existing motion sensors to detect when a user is slouching, alerting them to their poor posture.

Previous reports have indicated Apple is considering adding light sensors to AirPods that could aid in monitoring heart rate, VO2 levels, and core temperature.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9