Some AirPods will get a new hearing health feature supported by iOS 17 that lets you check yourself for potential hearing problems and determine your body temperature through your ear canal. BloombergMark Gurman in today’s match Power on Newsletter. He says all of Apple’s new headphones will have USB-C, and that the company is planning new AirPods Pro and AirPods Max models — but he doesn’t think new hardware will arrive anytime soon.
AirPods already support audiograms — audio profiles that tell AirPods how hard of hearing you are so they can adapt to your hearing abilities. Now, you can create an audiogram using the Mimi app, which is Apple Sherlocking — Apple’s infamous tendency to wrap third-party features and apps into its operating system — with a built-in hearing test feature.
Gurman says Apple is also exploring positioning AirPods as hearing aids, now that the FDA has approved the sale of hearing aids without a prescription.
Next, future AirPods could take your temperature in your ear canal, Gurman said. Apple was rumored to be doing this in late 2021, and the Apple Watch Series 8 introduced something similar last year, though it’s actually only used for menstrual cycle tracking.
Extending temperature monitoring to AirPods would be more accurate, he says, and would allow Apple to tell the wearer more accurately if they’re starting to get sick. Gurman didn’t say if it would be exclusive to the AirPods Pro, but it seems likely.
Bad news from Power on The newsletter says that the updated AirPods Pro won’t be coming anytime soon. Gurman believes new health features are “months or even years away,” and while USB-C AirPods may be coming soon, the AirPods Pro have been on a three-year update cycle so far. Two model sizes aren’t enough to say that’s always the case, but the fact that the 2nd gen AirPods Pro were only released last year doesn’t bode well for a new pair this year.
Again, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that he expects a USB-C version of the AirPods Pro to arrive later this year, in the second or third quarter, and that Apple has no plans for either. The original AirPods form factor or the more bulbous AirPods 3. Like Apple did when it introduced a separate MaxSafe case for the AirPods Pro in 2021, the new hardware could just be a new case with an updated charging port.
In January, Guo also predicted $99 AirPods early next year and a new AirPods Max coming soon.
Update July 2, 2023 at 9:15AM and: Other earbuds, such as the Jabra Elite 75D and Nothing Ear 2, have hearing test features.