In the coming months or years, AirPods may gain additional features that will completely change their capabilities. It could be that the next AirPods Pro release, which would be the third-generation model, will usher in the significant upgrade.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, the potential health benefits of the earbuds are about to be realized.
Gurman says, “I believe Apple plans to upgrade the AirPods over the next two years to become a health aid, with the ability to somehow get hearing data. The AirPods have long since a feature called Live Listen that can amplify audio from across a room, making the earbuds a bit like a hearing aid.
This is a fantastic feature – I know people whose experience of limited hearing has been radically changed by AirPods. Instead of turning up the volume on the TV and dominating the whole house, they put the iPhone next to the screen and listen through their earbuds.
But there’s more. Gurman continues, “Of course, this is not FDA approved and is not intended as a replacement for a hearing aid. But given Apple’s goal of making health one of its next big initiatives, I wouldn’t be surprised if the AirPods eventually take over those functions more officially. That is something that would help tens of millions of people, if not more.”
We’ve already had comments from Apple CEO Kevin Lynch indicating in 2021 that significant health upgrades could be coming to the AirPods in the future.
One of the most exciting things about Gurman’s commentary is that it doesn’t take new AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max at any point to make these things happen. Of course, some features will be limited to newer models, but some of these exciting updates may come to current models. After all, the existing hardware is quite advanced, with advanced processors that are very capable. And we live in a time where technology allows gadgets to get better with age just with the help of a software update.
My guess is that Apple will introduce features like this at the same time as a hardware refresh for one of the models, perhaps Apple AirPods Max 2 or AirPods Pro 3, and then quietly release the additional capabilities for existing models. This is a technique the company uses regularly, so that while some will upgrade to the latest model, those who stick with what they have are also rewarded.
More as we have it.