Smart sensors in future AirPods possess “all kinds of potential” for health tracking, according to Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch.
While he surely knows the company’s goals in this area, Lynch doesn’t spill the beans in a new interview with TechCrunch. However, the Apple exec hints (or, rather, doesn’t exactly deny) that the health-tracking technology already found in iPhones and Apple Watch could arrive in next-gen AirPods.
The exchange in question goes like this, as written by TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington:
“Perhaps one place to look for even more potential in terms of future health capabilities lies in sensor fusion…. Walking steadiness is the result of not just the iPhone or the Apple Watch acting independently, but of what’s possible when the company can use them in combination. It’s another place where Apple’s tight integration of software and hardware give it an edge, and it multiplies as Apple’s ecosystem of devices, and the sensors they carry, continues to grow.
I ended our interview by asking Lynch about what kind of possibilities might open up when you consider that AirPods, too, contain their own sensors and gather different data that could complement that monitored by the iPhone and Apple Watch in terms of health.
‘We already do sensor fusion across some devices today, and I think there’s all kinds of potential here,’ he said.”
Apple execs being coy about the future of the company’s devices isn’t exactly uncommon. But, from time to time, some of them drop breadcrumbs in interviews. More notably, in cases where Apple 100% doesn’t want to move into a particular area, executives sometimes dismiss ideas. For example, Apple execs frequently voice their opinions that macOS and iOS should not merge into one operating system.
Health-tracking AirPods have been rumored before. In 2017, Apple filed a patent describing wireless earbuds with built-in sensors for performing heart rate monitoring and taking body temperature measurements. AirPods with this tech have been predicted to ship as far back as early 2019. To date, that hasn’t happened. Nonetheless, Apple does not seem to have written off the idea.
The full interview offers an in-depth look at Apple’s health initiatives. What do you think of the prospect of health-tracking AirPods? Which metrics would be most useful to track? And are there any other earbuds that currently do this kind of tracking you’re familiar with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.