“Apple has spent the last few years developing a custom Bluetooth radio chip for wireless earbuds, according to a source with knowledge of the project,” Aaron Tilley reports for Forbes. “It’s possible the Bluetooth device will launch in September with the first iPhone without a headphone jack (likely called iPhone 7). If Apple succeeds, the wireless earbuds will fix a problem that has plagued Bluetooth headphones: limited battery life. The source couldn’t confirm when the product will launch.”

“The low-power Bluetooth chip comes from technology developed by Passif Semiconductor, a startup Apple purchased in 2013,” Tilley reports. “But the project has hit performance snags.”

“Apple originally planned to launch the Bluetooth gadget in 2015, but Bluetooth performance issues stalled the release, the source told Forbes,” Tilley reports. “The expected iPhone 7 will likely not have a headphone jack, making the iPhone thinner (by one millimeter) as well as improve its water resistance. This would require headphones to connect wirelessly through Bluetooth or Apple’s proprietary Lighting port.”

“Apple’s biggest smartphone rival, Samsung, recently announced its own Bluetooth earbuds called the Gear IconX. Samsung claims only 90 minutes minutes of battery life while streaming music from a phone,” Tilley reports. “The earbuds can also do a lot more than just play music: it captures the user’s heart rate with an optical sensor and tracks steps with an accelerometer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wonder if Samsung’s Gear IconX earbuds infringe upon Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004: “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets.”

Apple’s patent abstract: A monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The monitoring system can also be used to control a an electronic device. In one embodiment, the monitoring system facilitates user control of the electronic device using head gestures. More info here.

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Apple’s next-gen iPhone will feature all-new non-mechanical Home button, no 3.5mm headphone jack – August 2, 2016
Apple acquires low-energy chip developer Passif Semiconductor – August 1, 2013