The next generation of AirPods will focus on high-end health and hearing features

By Microsoft 5 Min Read


The launch of Apple’s fourth-generation AirPods and third-generation AirPods is fast approaching, and a major leak has revealed some new details about the next iteration of the company’s wildly popular wireless earbuds. These include new health features (covering both hearing and body temperature monitoring) and a switch from Lightning to USB-C.

Leaker analyst Mark Gurman focused on the next generation of AirPods in his latest edition Ignition bulletinand while some items have been mentioned previously by Gurman et al, the article is a useful summary with some new features and more detail in some areas.

We already know, for example, that Apple is deeply interested in hearing health and how AirPods can help with that. Current AirPods Pro models have been shown to double cheap hearing aidsand the Increased conversation feature was launched years ago.

More recently, Gurman himself said in a previous edition of Power On that hearing health would be the next area for AirPods innovation. But this was relatively vague at the time, mentioning the “ability to obtain hearing data of some sort”. The new report goes much further into this aspect. There will be, Gurman predicts, a “new hearing test feature that will play different tones and sounds to allow AirPods to determine how well a person can hear. The idea is to help users control hearing problems. In other words, in addition to serving as an effective hearing aid, the next AirPods will be able to warn of potential hearing loss earlier so it can be treated more effectively.

A separate health feature that Apple is looking into adding to AirPods is body temperature measurement. Again, this is an area we already know is of interest to the company, whose latest Apple Watches are designed to measure body temperature via the wrist for fertility tracking and general well-being, but the ear canal it is a better and more accurate source. of such data. As a result, Apple is working on adding a temperature sensor to a future set of AirPods, Gurman says, though that might not be ready for the fourth generation.

What will be here in time for the next model is the widely anticipated switch from Lightning to USB-C on the case’s charging port. This makes sense since Apple is expected to make the same transition to iPhone starting in late 2023. However, while Gurman has previously said he expects all three AirPods models to move to USB-C by the end of 2023, is now signaling that the company may be willing to wait a little longer for non-standard models; the AirPods Pro, he says, will stick to their current release cadence, meaning the next model, presumably based on a USB-C connection, won’t arrive until fall 2025. It’s unclear if a new case will be available launched before that as with the MagSafe case in 2021.

Finally, the idea that Apple will try to slash the price of its cheapest AirPods, echoed in the new report, has been around for years. They have generally been referred to as the AirPod Lite and they should compete with sub-$100 earphones.

The current (standard) AirPods launched in October 2021, and while Apple updates its headphones less frequently than phones, tablets and laptops, work will be well underway on a sequel to this hugely successful product. A look at Apple’s AirPods release history (September 2016, March 2019, then October 2021) would suggest that the next standard edition of Apple’s wireless earbuds will likely arrive in spring 2024.

You can keep up with all the latest news and rumors by bookmarking our regularly updated new AirPods superguide.

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