The first batch of “Made for iPhone” hearing aids are set to debut in early 2014. The new hearing aids will allow users to connect their earpieces directly to their iPhone without the need for any intermediary transmitters.
Apple has worked closely with Copenhagen, Denmark-based GN ReSound to bring the Danish audiological company’s LiNX hearing aids to market, according to a Monday report from Reuters. The LiNX represents not only the first Made for iPhone hearing aids to come to light since the program’s announcement two years ago, but the first hearing aid of any type that can connect directly to a smartphone, bypassing tertiary “streamers” that act as intermediary transmitters between a Bluetooth-equipped device and existing wireless hearing aids.
The devices will communicate with iOS devices on the 2.4-gigahertz band using Bluetooth 4.0’s low energy mode, the same power-stingy technology that allows the iPhone to communicate with Apple’s iBeacons technology, and allow it to connect with wearable tech such as the Pebble smartwatch. The hearing aids will have the ability to stream music and act as a two-way headset for phone calls. Settings will be adjustable via companion iOS apps.
While other Made for iPhone hearing products from other companies are said to be in development, the LiNX is the first to be officially announced, with a shipping time estimated for early 2014, at a cost of just above the $3,000 range per hearing aid.