Headphones are no longer just tools for delivering sound, they are becoming more and more diverse in function.
In addition to wireless, active noise reduction, which has evolved into a mainstream technology, headset manufacturers are looking for new features that can be added to headphones. Like adding voice control, smart assistants, targeted algorithm noise reduction, and motion and health data monitoring, these are new technologies and features that are ready to invest or have been put into full wireless headsets.
▲ BOSE SoundSport Pulse with heart rate monitoring
In particular, health data monitoring, more and more manufacturers began to do this function on the headset. After BOSE, Jabra and other brands launched headphones with data monitoring, Apple seems to have the same idea.
According to the mediaAppleinsider reportApple may add some health data monitoring features to the AirPods update, which will also be an important product update direction for AirPods.AppleinsiderAirPods may become a health monitoring device that is more important than Apple Watch in the future.
AirPods' "new features"
For Apple, sound performance has never been the focus of their home headphones, interaction and function are what they value more.
The addition of the W1 chip simplifies headset pairing and switching between devices. Combine Apple Music streaming services to make it easier for Apple device users to get music. Coupled with AAC's transmission and Apple Music's format for users, it will not cause too much transmission pressure on all wireless headsets. This combination has become Apple's stable audio experience solution. For general users who do not have a high sense of hearing, this combination is sufficient.
Therefore, we can see in various update rumors that the updated version of AirPods should not change much in terms of sound. Apple should invest in things related to health and interaction in the future.
As early as 2017, Apple applied for a feature patent related to AirPods.
This feature brings a similar "hearing aid" function to AirPods, which is amplified by the headphones to give the wearer a clearer sound. This feature was also delivered to users through the system update of iOS 12 in June 2018, which is the Live Listen feature.
In addition to amplifying the sound to improve hearing, Apple has also considered adding sensors related to health data monitoring to AirPods.
In 2014, Apple submitted a patent application related to headset design.Displayed in patent documentsApple will add sensors and detection components to the headphones that can be used to detect temperature, sweat and heart rate.
From the year of the patent file application and the design picture, Apple is already considering these things when pushing EarPods. In addition to being able to drop the earphone unit, the central part of the EarPods can also be used to lay down a small component with sensors and processing components. After the data is acquired, the earphones are passed back and forth to the mobile phone.
Of course, this is just an idea on EarPods in 2014.
After all, EarPods used only 3.5mm interfaces, instead of using data interfaces as they are now. If you really want to do data backhaul, changing the interface is the basis for implementing this idea.
AirPods now has the ability to transfer data. After switching to the full wireless design, there is also less wire restriction, and daily use is more convenient than wired earphones in motion detection. It can be seen that AirPods should be the best carrier to realize Apple's patented design. It is normal to add data detection in future updates.
Feasibility of implementation
Appleinsider in this reportPut forward a point of view:
The new AirPods, which incorporate a bunch of detection components and sensors, will be an important health detection device than the Apple Watch.
Whether it's an Apple Watch or other smart wearable device that's attached to your arm, you need to detect the data through the skin on your arm. The skin on the arm is much thicker than the part of the ear. When you want to monitor the data with high precision such as heart rate and body temperature, the data obtained by the wearable device from the arm will theoretically be compared to the monitoring in the ear. bigger.
In addition to blocking problems, the application scenario and the wearer's habits can also affect the way they are worn.
For example, in the "sleep" scene, the effects of "wearing" on watches, wristbands, wired headphones (including the device with wire and fixed structure such as a halter earphone) and all wireless headphones Not the same. In this regard, the IEEE Health and Medical Transformation Engineering Journal in the relevant report in 2013,Mentioned the impact of additional equipment on sleep quality monitoring:
When performing sleep monitoring, we often need to connect many monitoring devices and sensors to the detector. This kind of external solution will affect sleep, which will affect the authenticity of the test results.
Indeed, even if these sensors are wirelessly connected to the detection device, they have a volume that is external to the human body. Throughout the sleep process, the device may also have an impact when people are active.
Simply put, it's that you may get rid of these detection devices while you are turning around, or because these devices wake you up because of activity, these conditions can affect sleep quality and test results.
Therefore, when manufacturers are doing sleep products, they will minimize the impact of wearing equipment and reduce the "secondary interference" to sleep. Just like BOSE's Sleepbuds, it also pays attention to the material selection of the body while reducing the foreign body feeling that the earphones wear. Otherwise, the sleep aid effect caused by noise is also offset by the headphones.
From these two conclusions, it is clear that AirPods does have its advantages in terms of data detection equipment.
With a small footprint and a full wireless design, AirPods can reduce the impact on the wearer when worn. Compared to the Apple Watch and other wearable devices worn on the hand, it can be more "close" to the human body, and the data obtained when detecting heart rate and body temperature will be more accurate.
At the same time, AirPods needs to take care of a lot less than Apple Watch, and the endurance pressure and processing performance are naturally lower than Apple Watch. In this way, AirPods can concentrate on making a data acquisition device, and the data it acquires can be transferred to the iPhone and Apple Watch for processing, and finally the information is presented to the user in the form of sound or picture to form a new data monitoring solution.
In fact, there are already a lot of devices that have joined the body data detection function.
▲ Jabra Elite Sport
For example, the BOSE SoundSport Pulse, which detects heart rate, and the Jabra Elite Sport, which offers a complete motion detection solution, have provided a viable precedent for AirPods to implement health detection. It's not difficult for Apple to really invest in the AirPods update.
Of course, today's consideration is whether AirPods' existing designs can support these features.
For example, AirPods is still using the original EarPods, and the ear effect is certainly not as good as the in-ear headphones. If you want better data detection, AirPods may change the design and become an in-ear headphones.
Also, AirPods' existing battery can support the consumption of two functions of sound playback and data detection. With the existing sounding unit, it is possible to plug in the original data such as sensors for data detection … … these are apples. Issues to consider when updating products.
If you balance your needs, it's not difficult for AirPods to incorporate health data detection.
The new direction of the evolution of headphones
From the existing information, it is highly probable that Apple will add health detection function to AirPods.
Appleinsider also speculated in the report that changes in AirPods should appear in recent generations of products. Even though Apple won't be eager to implement all the features in the next generation, we should be able to see some signs and directions in AirPods 2 and AirPods 3.
After all, integrating headsets with health data detection devices is a new product trend. Headphones that have an advantage in wearing styles can indeed make some data monitoring functions better, and the improvement of the effect will lead to a new solution:
The headset becomes a new data detection device that gets the data and sends it to the phone or smart watch for processing. After the processing is completed, the mobile phone and the smart watch can be fed back to the user in the form of voice and picture text.
This change in usage patterns should appear on the next generation of AirPods, and it will become a more important data acquisition device than Apple Watch.