In a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the AirPods are more than just earbuds for Apple and will become increasingly important" to the company.
He says that the earbuds will add health features. However, Apple will face competition from Amazon and Google, which appear to be eyeing the same market, Kuo adds.
The analyst says the ear is a "perfect sensing area for detecting various health data," something Apple has been concentrating on. "It may integrate with the Apple Watch to offer better health management in the future," Kuo adds.
His analysis makes sense. Yesterday we reported that Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,149,041) for “earbuds with compliant member” that hints at features we could see in upcoming versions of the company’s AirPods, such as some of the biometric readings available with the Apple Watch.
The invention involves positioning a biometric sensor along an exterior surface of an earbud so it can be placed in direct contact with a portion of a user's ear during use of the earbud. In the patent filing, Apple notes that portable electronic device users have shown increasing interest in biometric tracking.