Wearable devices for health monitoring are emerging as one of the hottest new trends for 2014. According to a post on the anonymous app Secret, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new foray into the wearable market will be “Earpods” that include various health monitoring functions. The new Earpod headphones will also use Apple’s “iBeacon” system so they can be located if lost.
The author of the Secret post claims to be a former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) employee who was part of a group laid off last week.
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Apple’s iWatch also in development
According to the post, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also working on an “iWatch” wearable device, but apparently the name isn’t “final yet”. An iWatch would face stiff competition, as Samsung has already released both a smart watch and a “Gear Fit” wristband device that measures heart rate.
The idea of a health monitoring feature makes sense for both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Earpod and iWatch wearables, and it also makes sense given leaked suggestions that the upcoming iOS 8 will also include a “Healthbook” app. Those leaks were initially published by 9to5Mac in March, and also highlighted Apple’s growing focus on tracking fitness.
Ben Wood, chief of research at the research company CCS Insight, pointed out that the move to add sensors to their products is a logical next step. “We can’t take any credibility from something posted on Secret. But – are these things Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could do? If you had simply asked me what Apple could do, then putting sensors in is a rational next step.”
Wood also mentioned that a number of other companies such as LG and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) have already shown off prototype headphones with sensors: LG’s device measures heart rate and connects to both a wearable band and a smartphone.
“You see so many people running with headphones in an a smartphone or music player attached,” explained Wood. “This is totally, utterly rational as a product direction for Apple. It’s been widely investigated by other manufacturers, but as always with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), they’re great at taking an existing technology and improving the user experience.”