Apple Leverages AirPods For Next Push into Healthcare
Apple Sees New Health-Related Opportunities For AirPods
Apple (AAPL) is pushing further into the healthcare market, exploring ways to use its AirPods to improve individuals’ hearing and posture, and track their body temperatures. Most of Apple’s existing healthcare features and functionality only work for the Apple Watch, but the tech giant has an ongoing effort to develop more digital healthcare products beyond the Watch.
Apple has already seen significant success with its AirPods. The Bluetooth headset is the undisputed leader in the wireless headphone market, making Apple $12.8 billion in sales last year. That is five times as much as second-place headset maker Bose. However, Apple wants to continue to grow its AirPod business by finding new use cases for the technology.
Apple Explores Hearing Aid Market
Apple is looking to enter the hearing aid market, but the company has kept its plans close to its chest. It is not clear if Apple is developing a standalone hearing aid product or if it will market the AirPods’ existing hearing improvement features as hearing aids. The new AirPods Pro include new tech that improves the volume and clarity of conversations with people standing in front of the AirPod wearer.
The hearing aid market is a big opportunity for Apple. Of the roughly 28 million people in America who have mild hearing loss, only 5% rely on a hearing aid. Of the 12 million who suffer from moderate hearing loss, only 37% use a hearing aid.
Other Plans for the Future of AirPods
Apple is at work on AirPod prototypes which can take a person’s temperature from inside their ear. Apple is also developing a wrist-temperature sensor which could be part of the 2022 iteration of the Apple Watch. Meanwhile, Apple is testing motion sensors in earbuds to track users’ posture. With this technology, a person could receive an alert to sit up when they are slouching.
Digital technology is playing a bigger role in our healthcare and Apple wants to make sure it is at the center of these developments. It will be interesting to see how Apple leverages AirPods to meet this goal.
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