“Apple is interested in health technology and it seems as if Apple will launch an wearable wrist computer is coming later this year. Many aspects of that device – such as its reported reliance on biometric sensors — could also be included in headphones, as well,” Kif Leswing writes for Gigaom. “To do anything interesting with sensors in headphones, Apple would first need to decide how to transfer data from the headphones to a device. Bluetooth is one option, but equally interesting is Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable.”
“Apple has introduced a specification in its Made-For-iOS (MFi) program that allows headphones to be connected through a Lightning cord, instead of the 3.5mm headphone jack,” Leswing writes. “Why would they do this? There are a few immediate advantages that have nothing to do with ear sensors: first, the headphones could draw power from an Apple device or — if the headphones had a built-in battery — could even power the iPhone they’re plugged into. Audiophiles will point out that the 3.5mm jack outputs analog audio, and the Lightning port is capable of passing digital audio, which could be 48kHz and lossless… Eventually, ditching the 3.5mm jack in favor of a single port could also allow Apple more design flexibility — thinner devices, bigger batteries, increased water resistance.”
“But what the Lightning jack opens up most of all is a way for a sensors and microphones embedded in headphones to talk back to an Apple device. This could mean using Apple’s greater device processing power to run noise cancelling software, or it could send back biometric data to Healthkit app with data… As Rachel Feltman at QZ writes, companies other than Apple have done a lot of work on wearable ear computerse. The ear doesn’t move around the way the wrist does, so taking readings of biological metrics like heart rate and blood pressure is easier,” Leswing writes. “Even before the Beats deal, Apple produced 10s of millions of their white earbuds. Apple has an opportunity to do something wild with headphone technology, and eventually, it won’t be a secret.”
Much more in the full article here.
Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. – Steve Jobs
Bring. It. On.
Mac users are never wedded to old tech when there’s progress to be made.
Also, another good reason for the Beats buy. If Apple and Beats both change to Lightning headphones, the rest of the world will have to follow.
Of interest: Apple Inc.’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.
From your ear to your wrist in the blink of an eye™.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014
Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support – June 5, 2014
Apple preps HD audio for iOS 8 plus new Apple In-Ear Headphones and lightning cable – May 13, 2014
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014
Apple paves way for more affordable iOS accessories with lower MFi and Lightning licensing fees – February 7, 2014