In his latest Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports Apple is working on new health features for its line of audio products. The first of those would allow your AirPods to conduct a hearing test. As The Verge notes, AirPods already support audiogram profiles, which iOS can use to tune the output of the earbuds to adjust for hearing loss. Right now, you can generate those profiles through third-party apps like Mimi, so if Apple were to move forward with its own test, it would be another instance of the company “Sherlocking” a feature from a third-party developer.
Separately, Gurman writes Apple is exploring how to position and market the AirPods Pro as a hearing aid after the FDA made it easier for Americans to buy over-the-counter options last year. He reports the company recently hired engineers with experience working on traditional hearing aids as part of that initiative.
The other new AirPods feature Apple is working on is a way for the earbuds to measure your body temperature. A built-in temperature sensor was one of the features the company introduced with the Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra. As for why Apple would replicate a feature already found on one of its existing products, a sensor can get a more accurate temperature reading from the ear canal than the wrist.
Gurman warns both features are “several months or even years away.” In the more immediate future, he reports Apple plans to refresh the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case, adding that all of the company’s audio products will eventually move away from Lighting as well. All of that is part of a move Apple must make to comply with the EU’s new common charging standard. “Despite the USB-C shift, I wouldn’t anticipate the imminent launch of all-new AirPods Pro hardware,” Gurman notes, pointing to the fact Apple only just refreshed the earbuds last year.
Before then, AirPods users can at least look forward to the new software features Apple said it would introduce alongside iOS 17. Those include a new button press to mute yourself on calls and improvements to device switching. Gurman speculates Apple could also permanently lower the price of its second-generation AirPods to $99, down from $129, to make them more competitive against low-cost options from Samsung, Sony and Amazon.