With the launch of AirPods Pro last fall, Apple made it clear the AirPods lineup has room to grow. Even the original AirPods design is in its second generation. Reports continue to surface that Apple is working hard behind the scenes to bring new features to the wireless earphones. While the next AirPods release date is unknown, leaks point to on-board health monitoring capabilities.
Ambient light sensors are rumored to be coming to AirPods in the next year or two. These sensors would be manufactured in Taiwan, and can be used to measure pulse rate and blood oxygen levels. Current Apple Watch models monitor heart rate by collecting data from the wearer's wrist.
Other health and fitness monitoring features could include tracking head motion or counting steps with data directly collected by AirPods. Currently the M13 motion co-processor collects and processes motion sensor data in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone SE. Adding some of this functionality to AirPods themselves would further integrate in-ear biometrics with Apple's health ecosystem.Apple continues to lead in the wearables market, with sales of AirPods, Beats, and the Apple Watch booming. With more people working from home, Apple's earphones and headphones are remaining popular for listening and calling others. Should Apple go ahead and add health sensors to future AirPods, it could boost sales even more.