Apple's second-generation AirPods with health tracking features coming first half 2019

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited January 23
The second generation of Apple's AirPods will arrive in the first half of 2019, according to supply chain sources, with the wearable devices expected to include health tracking functionality that will make them more attractive in the overall wearables market.

Apple's AirPods
Apple's AirPods


The rumored AirPods 2 is tipped to launch in the first half of the year. The new wireless models, which may include health monitoring functions, are expected to receive an enthusiastic response from consumers, with competitors preparing to take them on with their own versions later in the year .

The competitive wearables market has already seen considerable growth over the last few years, with Apple's revenue from the wearable segment believed to have grown by 50 percent in 2018 compared to the full year of 2017, sources of DigiTimes claim. Apple's success in the field is said by supply chain insiders to demonstrate potential for the market to grow even more in 2019.

The claims by the industry insiders seemingly match a prediction made by Ming-Chi Kuo in December. Kuo also suggests the inclusion of "wireless charging support" and a Bluetooth specification upgrade in the release, though a more pronounced revision may arrive in 2020.

The report mainly deals with the anticipated growth of the flexible and rigid-flex PCB market in 2019, with Apple's AirPods and the Apple Watch Series 4 thought to be major drivers for the industry.

Leading Taiwanese flexible PCB suppliers Zhen Ding Tech and Flexium Interconnect are said to be two suppliers in the chain providing components for both the Apple Watch and AirPods. However, the two companies are tipped to gain more orders from other device vendors in the future.

The diversification is also apparently expected for Compeq Manufacturing and Unitech PCB, which supply rigid-flex boards used in AirPods, with both firms likely to gain more clients in the earbuds industry throughout the year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Are there health monitoring functions that could be more easily implemented in AirPods than in an Apple Watch? Or would these features be redundant to what is already available in AW but at a potentially lower cost or maybe attractive to people who have no interest in a watch but would wear AirPods?
    edited January 23 patchythepirate
  • Reply 2 of 27
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,038member
    Been ready to buy the Airpods 2 as soon as they dropped for a while. Was holding out just because the first ones have been out for around two years. What I'm mostly interested in is the same sound quality improvements they've been making to all their updated lines, health tracking would be an interesting bonus. 
    minicoffeebruce ketchum
  • Reply 3 of 27
    My only wish is for a design that will stay in my ears.
    sergiozwelshdog
  • Reply 4 of 27
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,296member
    My only wish is for a design that will stay in my ears.
    Unfortunately, I think you’ll be disappointed. Unless Apple either changes the shape of them or does something like add a silicone piece on them, neither of which is likely, my guess is they will fit the same. The majority of people say they fit will, but anytime you have something like this that’s designed to fit your anatomy you will have some people for whom they don’t fit well.

    I’m trying to figure what kind of health data they could introduce into these. Perhaps using the acceleromters to know if you’re walking/running? They could conceivably put a heart rate monitor in by adding an LED and sensor like the watch uses, but that would also draw more power, shortening the battery life.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 27
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,871member
    Two questions.
    1. Is this expected to be a replacement or step-up model to the current AirPod? Not sure if the rumored wireless charging and "health monitoring" features would add significant cost.
    2. Any thoughts as to what health monitoring functions it could offer, besides possible heart rate monitoring?
  • Reply 6 of 27
    My first guess for health monitoring from this AirPod 2 is taking body temperature. 
    GeorgeBMac78Banditwilliamhbruce ketchum
  • Reply 7 of 27
    neilmneilm Posts: 598member
    Are there health monitoring functions that could be more easily implemented in AirPods than in an Apple Watch?
    You mean other than thought control? 
    ;-)
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Would live to get them but until they have the silicone or are much more comfortable to wear I cannot spend the money.  Ear buds with the iPhone are POS cheap garbage.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,943member
    Airpods job is to provide better sound quality and longer usage between charging. But. if health feature is added than when plugged in ear, measure/monitor body temperature and send to your health App on iPhone. For children, send it to parent's iPhone.
    edited January 23 ravnorodom
  • Reply 10 of 27
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,302member
    Are there health monitoring functions that could be more easily implemented in AirPods than in an Apple Watch? Or would these features be redundant to what is already available in AW but at a potentially lower cost or maybe attractive to people who have no interest in a watch but would wear AirPods?
    One thing that they could easily(?) do because it uses currently available technology is body temperature.

    And, one application for that would be in endurance athletes where it can be a problem.   A life threatening problem.
    When I worked the medical staff of the Pittsburgh Marathon a few years back the biggest concern was over heating -- and we brought in water/ice baths to the medical tent to deal with it.   But, regardless, we still sent a dozen runners to the hospital with internal temperatures over 112 degrees -- which is well into life threatening range.  While any one of them or all could have died, all were saved with no known lasting debilities.  

    And, I myself in the last race I ran last fall underestimated the heat from the open sun of the course and dehydrated and overheated myself.  There was no medical tent there to check me or treat me -- so I instead spent an hour or so in the shade sipping fluids till things got back to normal.  If I had had a way to check my temperature while running I would have paid more attention to hydration which could have avoided the situation.  

    Unfortunately, on the flip side, most races discourage or ban any form of ear pods for safety reasons.
    patchythepiratechasmwelshdog
  • Reply 11 of 27
    I am kind of surprised at the comment about waiting till Apple adds silicon. I’ve been happy with my AirPods, and I realize that they are not a good fit for everyone, but there are so many third party accessories for the AirPod. I think that there are a lot of options to help have them fit. I am personally waiting till the 2nd generation, but if fit is your concern, you may want to look at the huge 3rd party accessories market for the AirPod. I looked and tried some out. There are probably 1/2 a dozen products to help with fiting. Maybe a little gross, but I find that after a little sweating or a wet willy, they stay put without the accessories. I have only thought of getting over the ear clips and maybe a leash. 
  • Reply 12 of 27
    leeeh2 said:
    I am kind of surprised at the comment about waiting till Apple adds silicon. I’ve been happy with my AirPods, and I realize that they are not a good fit for everyone, but there are so many third party accessories for the AirPod. I think that there are a lot of options to help have them fit. I am personally waiting till the 2nd generation, but if fit is your concern, you may want to look at the huge 3rd party accessories market for the AirPod. I looked and tried some out. There are probably 1/2 a dozen products to help with fiting. Maybe a little gross, but I find that after a little sweating or a wet willy, they stay put without the accessories. I have only thought of getting over the ear clips and maybe a leash. 
    The problem with third party ones is that the case fits the airpods so tightly that you have to remove most of the accessories to charge them.   That's a pain in the butt and why I have stuck with my Bose Soundsport Wireless Free buds.  They sound superior to the air pods and stay in my ears, but they are much more bulky (both the buds and the case) and continue to drain the battery even when in the case.  I like everything about the air pods, but the fit.
    edited January 23 ravnorodom
  • Reply 13 of 27
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 607member
    Been checking here every week for over 6 months, for news for AirPods ][, and I have the original AirPods, just want BT 5.0 and W3 (W2 sure). Money BEEN ready I know I know (woo hoo).

    But still, killin' me smalls...
  • Reply 14 of 27
    thttht Posts: 3,168member
    Hopefully, Apple will have more than one model of headphones. They should have earbuds (AirPods), in-ear, and around the ear models. Never really like on-ear headphones, but that can have that too. So, 4 models. They even sold a wired in-ear model in the past, and hopefully they’ll do it again.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    Good. Hopefully with waterproofing. Water has been killing these things off like crazy.

    Being able to buy AppleCare for them would be nice too.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 133member
    Hoping AirPower is released at the same time. 
  • Reply 17 of 27
    anomeanome Posts: 1,266member
    Are there health monitoring functions that could be more easily implemented in AirPods than in an Apple Watch? Or would these features be redundant to what is already available in AW but at a potentially lower cost or maybe attractive to people who have no interest in a watch but would wear AirPods?

    I'm guessing there will be a combination of features, some of which are similar but maybe not identical to Apple Watch features.

    I doubt the Air Pods will have exercise or workout detection. And I don't think they'd be as capable as a heart rate monitor (prove me wrong, Apple). So maybe lesser forms of tracking and health stuff already on the watch, to cover people who don't have the watch, but do have an iOS device. But also, as mentioned by others above, an in-ear sensor could work better for temperature. Also, blood oxygenation could be easier in the ear, but that would probably add substantial cost to the Air Pods. Might make it more likely for Apple Watch Series 5 or later.

    On the other hand, if they wanted to add an EEG to match the EKG on the watch, well you have to measure potential difference and current across the head...

  • Reply 18 of 27
    thttht Posts: 3,168member
    The ear is just as good if not better location to measure blood and heart related characteristics. Less muscle, hear, skin, etc, to interfere with light based sensors. Temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen level, blood pressure, glucose level all can be done there.

    A big issue with headphones and body measurements is that there aren’t worn all the time and battery life for wireless earbuds are not too good. A wrist watch you can put it on and basically forget it is there. Maybe these wireless buds can be thought as ear jewelry and it can be totally accepted for these things to be in or on your ear 18 hours a day? Or maybe they can grow out of being a necessity like hearing aids, or glasses, are and become a typical everyday human activity, like putting on clothes?

    For AirPods 2.0, getting phone talk time to 4 hours and enabling volume control would big improvements imo. The health sensing if it is there I imagine will be a user on-demand thing, not continuous like it is with the Watch.

    At some point, along with the Watch, I hope AirPods become independent computing devices, that is, they won’t need an iPhone. Like AirPods don’t need an iPhone to interact with Siri, it won’t need an iPhone to stream Apple Music, etc.



  • Reply 19 of 27
    I must have been born with evolved ears which are a perfect fit for AirPods. I can run, work, jump, dance, meditate, (listen to audio) with no problems. 99% of the time I completely forget I'm wearing a pair as they are so light.

    My only criticism of the AirPods I own is the batteries run down at just over an hour of use even with SPL's restricted by EU health standards ... and five minutes back in the charging case allows around 30mins play time before they emit the conking out sounds. Also, tipping my head down and turning it about 40º in either direction causes the sound to break up badly and vanish.

    So, I do hope they sort these shortcomings out before releasing a new iteration with features which may or most likely may not work..
  • Reply 20 of 27
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,830member
    My only wish is for a design that will stay in my ears.
    This is very hard to do. Everyone's ears are shaped differently. So what works for you may not work for another large group of people just like the current design. Thats the way it goes with in-ear earbuds. 
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