Health-tracking AirPods a next step for Apple as Google and Amazon race to imitate

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 5
Apple may be looking at improving the AirPods with health monitoring features soon, but the company may face steep competition in that space, as Amazon and Google appear to be eyeing the same market.




In a note from TF International Securities seen by AppleInsider, Kuo writes "the AirPods are more than just earbuds for Apple and will become increasingly important" to the company. Users investing in AirPods is said to "increase the switching costs for users to Android from the iOS ecosystem," as while they can be used on Android devices, they're really meant for use on iPhones.

It is also an important device for Siri and other similar services, as AirPods "can easily enable the voice assistant" for the user while worn, without requiring a raising of the arm for the Apple Watch, nor having to pull out the iPhone or iPad for a query.

Kuo also notes the ear is a "perfect sensing area for detecting various health data," something Apple is looking into based on the various patents and applications that have surfaced featuring wireless earbuds with built-in biometric sensors. "It may integrate with the Apple Watch to offer better health management in the future," Kuo adds.

An earlier note suggests Apple will be bringing out an updated version of the AirPods with "wireless charging support" and a Bluetooth specification upgrade in the first quarter of 2019. A more pronounced revision is expected by Kuo to arrive in 2020.

While the future fitness-tracking AirPods may prove to be a popular device for Apple customers, Kuo warns Apple will face stuff competition in the field soon. Amazon and Google are said to be working with suppliers Goertek and Unitech on their own AirPod-like earpieces, in part due to the success of Apple's product.

Google and Amazon are thought to be the main competitors in the field due to Google being the "most influential brand in the Android ecosystem," while Amazon has "the best voice assistant service" according to the analyst. The Amazon and Google versions of AirPods are tipped to ship in the second half of 2019, with combined shipments of between 10 million and 20 million units.

This estimated shipment level may not be enough to counter Kuo's expectations for AirPod shipments. While shipments of up to 16 million and 28 million in 2017 and 2018 respectively seem reasonable, Kuo anticipates up to 55 million units shipping in 2019, 80 million by 2020, and up to 110 million AirPods shipped by 2021.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    ...
    In a note from TF International Securities seen by AppleInsider, Kuo writes "the AirPods are more than just earbuds for Apple and will become increasingly important" to the company. Users investing in AirPods is said to "increase the switching costs for users to Android from the iOS ecosystem," as while they can be used on Android devices, they're really meant for use on iPhones.
    ....
    And, that isn't only true of Airpods -- but across Apple's line.   That is even more true of the Apple Watch -- or even a MacBook.

    That is, I am considering buying a MacBook Air for my grandson -- not because its a great piece of hardware (it isn't really).   But because of how it integrates itself into his Apple ecosystem -- where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    And, that's not terribly new to Apple:  The iPod and iTunes was an early successful attempt at a symbiotic relationship.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,772member
    ...
    In a note from TF International Securities seen by AppleInsider, Kuo writes "the AirPods are more than just earbuds for Apple and will become increasingly important" to the company. Users investing in AirPods is said to "increase the switching costs for users to Android from the iOS ecosystem," as while they can be used on Android devices, they're really meant for use on iPhones.
    ....
    And, that isn't only true of Airpods -- but across Apple's line.   That is even more true of the Apple Watch -- or even a MacBook.

    That is, I am considering buying a MacBook Air for my grandson -- not because its a great piece of hardware (it isn't really).   But because of how it integrates itself into his Apple ecosystem -- where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    And, that's not terribly new to Apple:  The iPod and iTunes was an early successful attempt at a symbiotic relationship.
    I agree with you except for the 'it really isn't' part.  I just bought my wife a new MBA after she tested her previous one with a glass of wine and it lost.  It is a great little machine and as with all Apple products made superbly, runs the best OS and uses high-quality components.  None of which can be said about any other manufacturers' laptops.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    The headline is a bit strange. It suggests Google and Amazon are racing to imitate an Apple product that has not been released or even announced - or did I miss an announcement? We could just as easily say Apple is racing to imitate Google or Amazon. Or more likely, they are all racing to compete in the health/wearables market, which is hardly a surprise.
    edited December 5 gatorguyrogifan_newgutengeln2itivguy
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Duplicate post deleted and previous post edited for clarity  :)
    edited December 5
  • Reply 5 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,772member
    I just realised that my phrasing in the last post was as unclear as the headline. I meant to say " It suggests Google and Amazon are racing to imitate an Apple product that has not been released or even announced"
    The edit option is your friend ;)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    MacPro said:
    I just realised that my phrasing in the last post was as unclear as the headline. I meant to say " It suggests Google and Amazon are racing to imitate an Apple product that has not been released or even announced"
    The edit option is your friend ;)
    Thanks for the tip :)
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Will discover how irritated I am by the fact how they hurt my ears? No thank you. I also prefer no devices that monitor... anything on me. Sell those to retirement houses maybe.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,230member
    MacPro said:
    ...
    In a note from TF International Securities seen by AppleInsider, Kuo writes "the AirPods are more than just earbuds for Apple and will become increasingly important" to the company. Users investing in AirPods is said to "increase the switching costs for users to Android from the iOS ecosystem," as while they can be used on Android devices, they're really meant for use on iPhones.
    ....
    And, that isn't only true of Airpods -- but across Apple's line.   That is even more true of the Apple Watch -- or even a MacBook.

    That is, I am considering buying a MacBook Air for my grandson -- not because its a great piece of hardware (it isn't really).   But because of how it integrates itself into his Apple ecosystem -- where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    And, that's not terribly new to Apple:  The iPod and iTunes was an early successful attempt at a symbiotic relationship.
    I agree with you except for the 'it really isn't' part.  I just bought my wife a new MBA after she tested her previous one with a glass of wine and it lost.  It is a great little machine and as with all Apple products made superbly, runs the best OS and uses high-quality components.  None of which can be said about any other manufacturers' laptops.
    I have an MBA and a Thinkpad T series -- I mostly use the Thinkpad:   Much better keyboard, better trackpad, it's quicker, the screen is easier on my eyes, it carries a 2nd drive for automatic backups, has a user swappable battery and a ton of ports, etc...   The MBA is a nice little machine but it mostly gets used for more casual stuff on the coach like watching a video, etc. because its screen is better for that and it has better speakers.  Basically, it works far better as laptop on your lap than the Thinkpad which is like having a 70 pound Labrador who thinks its a lap dog.

    I agree with you 100% on the Mac OS and the Apple ecosystem -- and I love how it integrates with my iPhone stuff and that my Apple Watch unlocks it.  But, unless you're lugging it around in a backpack, the hardware is good but lacks important features and makes too many compromises with the keyboard (which, by the way, on the Thinkpad, is spill resistant). 

    Basically, my Thinkpad T series has essentially made my old Desktop irrelevant.  But its big, clunky and heavy -- and it doesn't integrate into Apple's ecosystem at all.  But its a joy to use on a desk and like the MBA is made superbly -- they're known to be bullet proof and last forever. 
  • Reply 9 of 13
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,370member
    The AirPods are a recent product most like the Apple of old. Almost magical.
    Unfortunately Apple is now a mature, supply chain oriented company and such moments are getting further and further apart. Just coasting along the top of the product cycle curve.
    edited December 5
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Will discover how irritated I am by the fact how they hurt my ears? No thank you. I also prefer no devices that monitor... anything on me. Sell those to retirement houses maybe.
    There's a difference between monitoring, 'storing,' and 'transmitting.'  My guess is you want monitoring, but no retention of what is being monitored.

    The watch use cases for 'storage' and  'transmission'  exist beyond retirement houses, and for many help drive lifestyle modification.   

    And... you can choose not to buy them... 


    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13

    With Google's "Moon Shots" rarely panning out, I think Apple has nothing to worry on that front.

    Last I heard, Google has ditched it's diabetes monitoring contact lenses project.

    Apple's got the wrist-space and the ear-space. How it creatively gleans health information from these spaces and extends it to really benefit us is going to be interesting to follow.

    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,351member

    With Google's "Moon Shots" rarely panning out, I think Apple has nothing to worry on that front.

    Last I heard, Google has ditched it's diabetes monitoring contact lenses project.

    Apple's got the wrist-space and the ear-space. How it creatively gleans health information from these spaces and extends it to really benefit us is going to be interesting to follow.

    You're correct that the sugar-monitoring contact lenses probably won't pan out as envisioned tho they may end up serving a different use, but that's not the entirety of Google's health-related initiatives any more than the wrist and ear space being all that Apple is interested in. 

    https://medicalfuturist.com/googles-masterplan-for-healthcare
    edited December 6
  • Reply 13 of 13
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 246member
    entropys said:
    The AirPods are a recent product most like the Apple of old. Almost magical.
    Unfortunately Apple is now a mature, supply chain oriented company and such moments are getting further and further apart. Just coasting along the top of the product cycle curve.
    Glum day huh?  You must be depressed.  Cause I’m sure not seeing what you’re saying.  Apple is going gangbusters.  You gotta remember that what they are working on is hard.  They are trying to carve out their own space by doing something better than anyone else or doing something unique that no one else has done before.  So you’re not going to see Apple faries spreading techno pixey dust every quarter.  We didn’t see that 10 years ago either.
    watto_cobra
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