Rumor of EarPods with biometric sensors has origins in past research

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Rumors

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Until Apple rolls out official statements on the next round of iDevices, fan boys and girls are bogged down with different kinds of rumors and speculation. We’ve seen talk on the size of the screen of iPhone 6, new apps such as Healthbook, and the iWatch features with biometrics, but now another wild rumor has sparked our interest; new EarPods are purported to be coming with biometric sensors, specifically with heart rate and blood pressure sensors.

EarPods with biometrics

The source of this rumor is, an anonymous information-sharing platform.

Apple’s new EarPods will have sensors in them, for heart rate & blood pressure. Also iBeacons so they don’t get lost. They will require the lightning port, it’s why the audio jack was moved to the bottom.

It stores the data in a similar way to thumbprint point data, fully encrypted and nothing identifiable. But nice to send to your doctor to keep track of at which point your blood pressure started rising for example.

Redesigned remote too. Extra mic for better noise canceling.

What’s interesting about this rumor is that it matches Apple’s previous research documented in patent applications filed in March 2007. An excerpt from the Summary of Invention tells us:

“The present invention can include systems and methods for integrating sensors for tracking a user’s performance metrics into electronic devices and accessories therefor. In one embodiment of the present invention, the electronic devices can include portable media devices similar to iPods.TM. sold by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. or cellular telephones similar to iPhones.TM. designed by Apple Inc.”

Another filing (granted as a patent this February) specifically addressed this headphone-based physiological monitoring, similar to the concept of the rumored EarPods.

The invention pertains to a monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with a hearing device, headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate.

This is not the first time we’ve heard about Apple deploying biometrics in upcoming products. With the rumored Healthbook app and iWatch to come with tracking features, it is possible we will see iDevices and accessories with biometric sensors soon. Just imagine the opportunities in store for the fitness, health, and medical industry if this will push through.

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