iPhone 6 headphones could revolutionize the nascent wearable technology industry, according to a May 3 report in GottaBeMobile. Many sources suggest that Apple will incorporate an app in the upcoming iPhone 6 called “Healthbook," which will track different health and fitness signs. But the question has always been what will be the source of this data for iPhone 6—until now.
Up until now, Apple observers have speculated that the sensors that the “Healthbook” app in iPhone 6 will need will be included in an “iWatch” or some fitness wristband like the Nike “Fuelband." Nike has recently scaled back its development of future hardware like the “Fuelband” and announced that it will focus on developing app software with partners. Nike's decision has added to speculation that it was making way for Apple to enter the market with its “iWatch” (or a new wrist worn iPod).
But CEO Tim Cook has expressed reservations about a wearable device on the wrist connected to an iPhone, as a watch, because few under age 20 use watches. But there is something that large swaths of
iPhone customers use that cuts across ages—headphones.
As science fiction gives way to science fact and brilliant engineering, a new leak, a new hire and a 2008 patent point to how iPhone 6 headphones will contain the sensors that measure a user's heart rate and blood pressure. These headphones will look similar to the little white earbuds that iPhone users currently wear.
The leak comes in the form of a MacRumors article. This article reveals that an MIT researcher from the university's “Medical Electronics Devices Realization Center” who develops headphone monitors is a new Apple hire.
The 2008 Apple patent describes a “headset having integrated physiological sensors." This patent also describes these headphones (earbuds) as being an accessory to either iPhones or iPods.
While Apple is working to enhance smart headphones, a version of these kinds of headphones has already been developed by Intel and revealed at the International CES 2014 trade show in Las Vegas. These smart headphones use an accelerometer and infrared sensors to capture biometric data that is then sent to a smartphone app. Using the data from these headphones, the app can then play songs whose rhythms change with your heart rate.
Intel says that it is working with a partner that it cannot name to market these headphone in 2014. Besides a great deal of attention being focused on the design of iPhone 6 and the capabilities of iOS 8, Apple observers are starting imagine the exciting possibility that smart headphones (earbuds) integrating with iPhone 6 will be Apple's first entry into the wearable technology arena.