With the maturing wireless headset market and the arrival of new competitors such as Huawei FreeBuds 3, Apple is already preparing some major changes for its upcoming AirPods. Following the Apple Watch’s example, it seems that Cupertino’s company wants to reposition the headphones in the market.
Thus, in addition to offering noise cancellation, the upcoming devices can also assist the user in monitoring their health. According to a recent Apple patent, this will be possible thanks to sensors located inside the headset.
“One exemplary type of biometric sensor,” says Apple in its patent filing, “that can be used to record biometric parameters of a user is a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor that measures biometric parameters by shining light and then measuring the reflectivity of that light off the skin.”
Generally, not all parts of the headset touch the user’s skin. So to accommodate the sensor and make it efficient, Apple describes a minor design change.
“One solution to this problem is to arrange the PPG sensor along a surface of the earbud at an end of the earbud near a speaker opening of the earbud,” it concludes. “In this way, when the speaker’s opening is aligned with the ear canal, the PPG sensor can contact an interior facing surface of the tragus of the ear.”
For now, as expected, Apple does not comment on the patent application. Anyway, with a considerable increase in options in the market, it is remarkable the company’s effort to position its headphones as new allies in monitoring user health.