When the topic of Apple expanding into wearable computing comes up, few people are likely thinking that a logical starting point is a new hearing aid.
But according to numerous reports, that is exactly the direction Apple is heading in. The Danish-based, fourth-largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world has been collaborating with Apple to develop a device, called the LiNX, that will allow users to stream voice and music from their iOS devices without the need for an intermediary device.
The LiNX — which will use a 2.4GHz connection — is reportedly due to ship in the first quarter of 2014.
Analysts Morgan Stanley calls it the “first attempt to turn a hearing aid into more of a lifestyle product.”
Apple has been pursuing this area for some time: filing a number a patents over the course of this year according to Patently Apple.
If the idea of a next generation hearing aid device seems like small beans to you (and, thinking about it, why should it?) consider this: the market is valued at an estimated $15 billion — around one-third of the total global tablet market.