Apple patent application reveals future AirPods with more biometric sensors

“Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,149,041) for ‘earbuds with compliant member’ that hints at features we could see in upcoming versions of the company’s AirPods, such as some of the biometric readings available with the Apple Watch,” Dennis Sellers reports for Apple World Daily.

“The invention involves positioning a biometric sensor along an exterior surface of an earbud so it can be placed in direct contact with a portion of a user’s ear during use of the earbud,” Sellers reports. “In the patent filing, Apple notes that portable electronic device users have shown increasing interest in biometric tracking.”

“Apple says that requiring a user to place a sensor in direct contact with the skin to track these types of biometric data can be overly burdensome, making adoption of the biometric tracking more difficult,” Sellers reports. “The tech giant says that ‘mechanisms for unobtrusively measuring biometric parameters are highly desirable.'”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustration, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s been working on ear canal-based biometrics for some time now. For example, an Apple patent application filed on May 13, 2008 described, “From infrared radiation in the user’s ear, sensors… can detect minute temperature variations due to the user’s heart beats. Heart rate can be calculated based on time between beats and the user’s temperature can be set as the ‘DC Component’ (or average or median value) of the detected temperature distribution. Other sensors can also be used for tracking the same physiological metrics or different physiological metrics…”

Apple’s glucose monitor better delivered via AirPods than the watch – April 13, 2017
Apple secret team reportedly working holy grail for treating diabetes; initially envisioned by Steve Jobs – April 12, 2017
Apple patent details Apple Watch smart bands – January 24, 2017
Emails between Apple and FDA hint at future plans – December 1, 2016
Analyst: Apple smartbands are a part of the Apple Watch’s future – April 8, 2016
Apple patent application hints at Apple Watch ‘Smartbands’ utilizing hidden 6-pin data connector – February 20, 2016
Why Apple’s iWatch won’t measure glucose levels – February 26, 2014
Apple patent application describes measuring workout activity from inside user’s ear canal – November 19, 2009


  1. I hope Apple would first eliminate this “design over functionality” nonsense first, i.e., keep Ive off this. The ugly straight down antenna boom (ear discharge design) should be modified and somehow be integrated into a more tighter fixing system over the ear etc so that it won’t easily pop out from the ear canal. A microphone is sensitive enough. Only then, any biometric data can be securely and reliably acquired.
    When this is done, I will buy it.
    It is already C$250 with tax in Canada and the way Apple is operating these days, I am sure it will creep up to the insane $300 (!) when the new one is out.

    1. So, you don’t own a pair, and yet you believe the AirPods “easily pop out”? Based upon what?

      And since you’re giving Jony design advice, I’m guessing you’re a product designer who understands the design parameters and constraints, amiright?

      As for C$250, there’s nothing Apple can do about how high the PST and HST are, that’s the responsibility of Canadian voters. The actual price is C$219, which is $165 USD. Given the cost of high-end wireless headphones, the price seems reasonable. Certainly the popularity would indicate that is so. Have you even looked at the cost of other high-end wireless headphones?

      1. Many of my friends and colleagues have it, and most of them complained about this “popping out” problem. I also personally tested it myself and did not feel secured.
        I have no idea why you thought I was giving a design advice, but everybody has suggestions on many things. Anything wrong and bothered you?
        A matter of opinion. Apple can do a lot of things. “With tax” price bothered you? It simply indicates the actual cost to the consumers in this country.

        You speculate too much. Take it as presented. I am a simple man.

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