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March 16, 2017

Could Apple use AirPods for fitness tracking? New patent filing suggests yes

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If you want to keep better tabs on your health and fitness, you’re set to get more and more devices that can help you do so.

Apple is putting more and more of a focus on fitness tracking, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. While the Apple Watch will continue to get better at tracking your health and fitness, it looks like Apple could soon use another device for tracking — AirPods.

A new patent application has been discovered by the folks over at AppleInsider, and it shows that Apple may be working on a pair of AirPods packed with sensors that will allow them to track your health and fitness — on top of obviously functioning like a pair of headphones.

More: Apple’s Find My AirPods feature makes it nearly impossible to lose your ‘buds

Sensors that are listed in the filing include a PPG sensor, which is already used in the Apple Watch and is a common way to track heart rate by shining a light onto the skin and measuring the variations in reflections. That tech can also be used to characterize the blood. The patent application also mentions the use of a VO2 sensor, which detects the maximum amount of oxygen someone can use during exercise. Not only that, but it also notes an EKG sensor and ICG sensor could be used to detect the electrical activity of the heart.

The news highlights a trend that sees tech companies taking more and more of an interest in health and fitness tracking. Wearable devices are increasingly fitness focused, and whether Apple uses AirPods for fitness tracking or not, that trend is likely to continue.

AirPods themselves were first launched at the end of 2016, and have met with quite a bit of success, to the point where the availability of AirPods has been limited since the launch. It will be interesting to see if Apple intends to integrate biometric sensors into AirPods. If the company does, it could help make them even more popular than they already are.

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