We know that Apple is bringing new fitness tracking technology to iOS 8, but how will your phone know what's going on with your body? It turns out your ears might be the key to populating information into the HealthBook app. While it has been anticipated that Apple would collect fitness information through a smart watch or wrist band of some kind, rumors are circulating that Apple could go the way of smart earbuds.
Apple analysts have thrown around the idea in the past, but the technology never had a purpose before. With HealthBook, there would be a reason to develop elaborate earbud technology. Last week, the rumor resurfaced on the Secret app that Apple would be released smart earbuds:
This is more than a random tech community rumor. In 2008, Apple filed for an applicable patent: "Electronic devices and accessories having integrated sensors for tracking a user's performance metrics are provided. In one embodiment, the present invention can include a headset having integrated physiological sensors." Later that year, they filed for another patent even more specific to the tracking expected in HealthBook: "A monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities."
If Apple does go the way of smart earphones, they will be the first of their kind. They will also likely be at a much more reasonable price point than a smart watch. Right now, their earbuds retail for $29. Even if the price doubled due to the price of parts and more advanced technology, they would still be about $100 cheaper than the Samsung smart watch. While it seems like a valid rumor, keep in mind it is still just that. Don't hold your breath for a WWDC 2014 release.
UPDATE: The person behind the Secret created Tumblr to say they made up the story. Based on other information surrounding Apple's earbud technology, their lie could end up being a lucky guess.