Apple Patent Hints at Next-Generation AirPods With Biometric Sensors

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Apple today was granted a patent that essentially updates an older wearable sports and health tracking device invention with features similar to those found in the company's new AirPods wireless headphones.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent on Tuesday with the title "Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets", which AppleInsider notes is nearly identical to a patent of the same name granted in 2014. However, the new document adds some new details hinting that Apple may be planning on integrating the technology into a forthcoming version of the company's AirPods.

biometric AirPods
The patent describes an earbud-based fitness monitoring system which integrates an advanced biometric sensor that can detect physiological metrics including temperature, heart rate, perspiration levels and more, through skin contact and via built-in motion sensors.

The updated document does away with references to a head gesture-controlled user interface and replaces them with details of a UI that users interact with via voice and touch. The newer invention allows users to touch areas of the headphones to trigger controls such as changing music track or invoking Siri. Alternatively, users can speak commands through a microphone, which are then processed by the headset or sent to a host device such as an iPhone.

biometric AirPods
The changes bear clear similarities to Apple's recently delayed AirPods, which include embedded infrared and motion sensors for controlling various system functions. AirPods automatically detect when they are removed from the ear and can power off independently. The AirPods' tap controls also enable wearers to invoke Siri which can then be used to control music playback, volume, and other options.

With Apple's first-generation AirPods already being delayed suggesting technical issues, it's unlikely we'll be seeing a biometric sensor-equipped version of the earbuds soon, but the patent suggests Apple still has long-term designs on in-ear health and activity tracking, possibly being readied for a future model.

Apple says it needs "a little more time" before its AirPods are ready for customers, but a recent report indicated they could enter production in December possibly in time for availability going into the holiday season.

Related Roundup: AirPods
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

benz240 Avatar
53 months ago
They can't even ship the current generation AirPods and they're working on the next gen?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
53 months ago

They can't even ship the current generation AirPods and they're working on the next gen?

Sorry, are you new to product design?

You can't buy a "2018" model car right now, but you can bet your ass that BMW is working on their 2019, 2020, and 2021 models right now. :rolleyes:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
53 months ago

Where are the current generation airpods??? ****ing liar

Apple didn't lie about anything. It was an unknown delay that pushed them out further From their original October release. Apple released a statement to Tech Crunch they would be delayed.

A lie would be if Apple introduced the Airpods and then stated they never existed to begin with.

If you are going to bash Apple, at least understand the differences between a lie and a set back.

Also, you posted this same snark remark on another Airpod rumor a few weeks back. It's getting old and time to retire it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SMIDG3T Avatar
53 months ago

There is probably an issue that they need to sort out, people just need to be patient! would you rather Apple release them with problems/issues? i want to buy a pair, i was ready to pre-order them since they have been announced but i'd rather wait and have a product that is ready than one with issues.

I'll keep saying this until it gets into people's heads.

This is absolutely correct. Apple made a mistake, admitted it and said they need more time to make these to the standard everyone expects.

Perhaps a month or two is a lot to some people on here? In reality, it's nothing. I can't wait for these.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dave245 Avatar
53 months ago

I'll keep saying this until it gets into people's heads.

This is absolutely correct. Apple made a mistake, admitted it and said they need more time to make these to the standard everyone expects.

Perhaps a month or two is a lot to some people on here? In reality, it's nothing. I can't wait for these.

Exactly, i really think that Apple can't win, people complain because Apple are taking extra time to work on them, but if Apple released them without them being finished and or any problems being removed, people would seriously complain then (and correctly so.) Not only that but people moaned about them when they were announced, people complained about the design and the price.

Now a days it seems companies like Apple can't win, people will always complain and bitch. Apple decided against doing a Touch-screeb Mac, and people think they aren't innovating, it makes me laugh :D but at the same time it is frustrating :( because the same people would also moan and bitch if Apple did do something like that and the user experience wasn't good (which it wouldn't be).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
53 months ago

They can't even ship the current generation AirPods and they're working on the next gen?

How do you think product development works… I'm curious?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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