June 24, 2024
Apple to Transition AirPods Pro to USB-C Alongside iPhone 15 [Gurman]

Apple to Transition AirPods Pro to USB-C Alongside iPhone 15 [Gurman]

Posted July 2, 2023 at 4:20pm by iClarified
Apple is planning to transition AirPods to USB-C charging ports and is exploring new hearing health and body-temperature features, according to Mark Gurman.

A new hearing test feature will reportedly play different tones and sounds to determine how well a person can hear. This would help users determine if they have hearing issues, similar to how the Apple Watch can be used to check for heart problems. The feature would likely Sherlock existing apps like Mimi.

Apple is also looking to capture some of the $10 billion-a-year hearing aid market. The company has already added hearing aid-like features including Conversation Boost and Live Listen; however, those don't yet have regulatory approval. A change to hearing aid purchase rules last year by the FDA has made it possible to purchase a hearing aid over-the-counter in the USA without needing an exam or prescription. Apple has seen the opportunity and reportedly hired traditional hearing aid engineers to help its efforts.

As previously rumored, Apple is working to determine a user's body temperature via their ear canal. This would be a more accurate way to get temperature than the wrist measurements taken by Apple Watch. Currently, temperature is just used for tracking fertility, but Apple could expand its use to determine if a person is ill.

Gurman says these health features are several months or even years away; however, as part of the shift to USB-C for iPhone, Apple is also planning to make the same switch for AirPods Pro. Other audio products are also likely to see a shift to USB-C for future generations.

Unfortunately, all-new AirPods Pro hardware isn't imminent.

While history is still limited, the AirPods Pro are on a three-year upgrade cycle: They first launched in 2019 and got an update in 2022. The regular AirPods are on a similar cadence, having launched in 2016 and then receiving updates in 2019 and 2021. There's something else that Apple could consider doing: cutting the price of its cheapest AirPods. The second-generation models still work well and offer value at their $129 price point. But they would be an even better buy and stocking stuffer at $99 — and could make the AirPods an even stronger rival to new offerings from Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Group Corp. and Amazon.com Inc.

Finally, Gurman notes that AirPods will play an important role in Apple's upcoming Vision Pro headset. A special pairing algorithm with AirPods Pro 2 exists and AirPods could offer users a more immersive audio experience.

These rumored new features are in addition to the new capabilities announced at WWDC. If you don't already have AirPods you can grab them on sale here:
AirPods 2: $99 ($30 off)
AirPods 3: $149.99 ($19.01 off)
AirPods Pro 2: $199 ($50 off)
AirPods Max: $449.99 ($99.01 off )

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Apple to Transition AirPods Pro to USB-C Alongside iPhone 15 [Gurman]
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