Health-related light sensors could feature in future AirPods

Apple reportedly wants to integrate light sensors into new models of its AirPods as part of its plans to deliver a better range of health monitoring features to users.

A report published by DigiTimes on Monday claimed that the ambient light sensors (ALS) could be included in AirPods sometime during the next 18 months to two years.

It noted that Taiwan’s ASE Technology could be the key supplier for the new component after it recently made a switch to purchasing more packaging machines.

The report added: “ASE Technology is poised to apply its SESUB (semiconductor embedded in substrate)-based SiP packaging technology to next-generation TWS (true wireless stereo) earphones to be rolled out by Apple.”

Apple could use the sensors to provide more detailed health monitoring features, allowing users to keep tabs on their blood oxygen levels and heart rate.

Hospitals already use ear-based pulse oximeters to monitor the health of patients, so it is not inconceivable that Apple could offer something similar with its popular wireless earbuds.

However, it is not clear how Apple would incorporate the new tech without redesigning the AirPods and AirPods Pro.

DigiTimes claims that the new sensors will be included in the device in the near future, but it did wrongly predict that health monitoring features would be introduced in last year’s AirPods.

A more likely candidate for the tech could be an over-the-ear pair of headphones such as the PowerBeats Pro.

While the specifics are not clear right now, it does seem like Apple will release some sort of health monitoring earbuds by 2022 at the latest.

While those could still be some way off, rumours at the weekend claimed that Apple’s AirPods Studio headphones could be released before the end of H1 2020.

The over-ear noise-cancelling headphones were expected to go on sale in the second half of the year, but they could now arrive in June.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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