A new report from DigiTimes claims Apple will release new AirPods that will include “health monitoring features” during the first half of 2019.
In terms of wireless headsets, Apple is set to release AirPods 2 sometime in the first half of 2019, and the new wireless earbuds with discrete designs to carry health monitoring functions are expected to receive enthusiastic market responses. Other brand vendors have all planned to launch wireless headsets in the year, with market competition seen to heat up soon.
The information is buried in an article describing how wearable devices are expected to be a significant growth driver for shipments of both flexible and rigid-flex PCBs in 2019.
The DigiTimes report doesn’t cite any sources for the AirPods claim, merely mentioning that Tiawan-based printed circuit board makers Zhen Ding Tech and Flexium Interconnect supply components for Apple Watch and AirPods “at the moment.”
While the publication has somewhat reliable supply chain sources, it has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to taking the information from those sources and accurately predicting Apple’s future plans. So, take this report with the proverbial grain of salt or your favorite salt-free seasoning.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last year predicted Apple would release new AirPods with a wireless charging case in late 2018 or early 2019. DigiTimes could be referring to his prediction.
Listings for new AirPods were included in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s regulatory database in November. The two listings sported model numbers A2031 and A2032, and will include a Bluetooth 5.0 update. The filing mentions AirPods by name.
One issue I have with the report that the new earbuds will include new health monitoring features is that their tiny size greatly limit any such features the buds could include. While an accelerometer could easily fit inside AirPods, both device that the wireless earbuds are used with the most, the iPhone and the Apple Watch, both already include such a feature.