As was announced back in July, Apple partnered with Australian company Cochlear to develop the Nucleus 7, the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant, which is able to stream audio from a compatible iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directly to a surgically embedded sound processor.
Cochlear's new Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is launching in Australia this week, and should soon also be available in other countries for customers who have profound hearing loss that can't be alleviated with traditional hearing aids and requires implant technology.
Apple's accessibility engineering team worked with Cochlear to create a new form of Bluetooth low-energy audio that allows the implant to connect to the iPhone without draining significant amounts of battery life. Through an iPhone connection, patients who adopt the Nucleus 7 implant will be able to watch movies, listen to music, make calls, and more.
In a comment to The Australian about the launch of the Nucleus 7 from Cochlear, Apple director of accessibility Sarah Herrlinger said the Cochlear project is something Apple is "passionate about." Creating the Bluetooth improvements and developing integrations across multiple companies with hearing aid products took two to three years to complete, says Herrlinger.
"It's something that we are really passionate about as a company," she said. "We consider it one of our core corporate values, an area where we put significant amount of time and energy ensuring our products work for everyone.
"We started looking at this program around the concept of Bluetooth LE and how it would be a beneficial tool in this specific circumstance. The work we have done is applicable both to hearing aids and sound processors."
The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with a wide range of Apple devices, including the iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Pro models, the iPad mini and later, and the fourth-generation iPad and later.