It seems that Apple has learned the art of teasing its fans and prolonging their waiting. It waited a month after its iPhone XS event to reveal its new iPad Pros. And now it might be waiting for yet another month to bring out another expected product, the next-gen AirPods. It might be close to launch, though, if certification and trademark filings are any indication. And if those sightings are correct, fans might be looking at a rather sophisticated piece of fitness equipment they can put in their ears.
The appearance of the new AirPods at the Bluetooth SIG might not be that exciting. It only tells us that the AirPods with model numbers A2031 and A2032 (for left and right earpieces, presumably) now support Bluetooth 5.0. What this would mean in practice is that the AirPods 2 would be able to stream audio over the battery-saving Bluetooth Low Energy and, in theory, support Dual Audio.
Perhaps more interesting is MySmartPrice’s discovery of a filing for an update to the AirPods trademark in Hong Kong and Europe. The new trademark now includes “wellness sensors” in its list, something absent from last year’s version.
That’s not really surprising given Apple’s direction in smart accessories of late, as seen in the Apple Watch 4. What these filings don’t say, however, is what kind of wellness features will be included in the AirPods 2. So far the rumor mill has gone crazy over the possibilities, which include a PPG sensor like the Apple Watch, EKG, VO2, and more.
Outside of the health aspect, the AirPods 2 is also expected to have improved wireless capabilities and possibly water resistance. There could also be support for Siri baked into the hardware, which would also be in line with Apple’s renewed automation thrust via Siri Shortcuts.