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Apple’s 2019 AirPods Could Have Serious Competition from Google And Amazon

The latest patent filing suggests Apple is betting big on health tracking features as the next big evolution for the AirPods.

Vishal Mathur | News18.com@vishalmathur85

Updated:December 6, 2018, 8:49 AM IST
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Apple’s 2019 AirPods Could Have Serious Competition from Google And Amazon
The latest patent filing suggests Apple is betting big on health tracking features as the next big evolution for the AirPods.
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Perhaps conspicuous by their absence on the update calendar for this year, there are great expectations that Apple will update the wireless earphones in 2019. The latest patent filing by the company suggests that the next update for the AirPods will bring in a lot more features. The patent filing suggests that there will be a slight redesign of the earbuds, and the buds will now be compatible with either ear—at present, there are designated ones for the left and the right ears. There will be a bendable band, optional perhaps, to securely lock in the earphones when you are wearing them. There is also a belief that the new AirPods buds will have biometric sensors built-in. These would be very handy for health tracking, such as monitoring the heart rate, blood volume, respiratory rate, body temperature and more.

It would be interesting to see if Apple introduces the electrocardiogram (ECG) scan feature with the new AirPods. That is currently available only on the latest generation of the Apple Watch, and is being gradually activated in countries where Apple has received necessary regulatory permissions. Users in India still await the ability to use this feature, since Apple has not yet received the permissions here.

All these updates to actually be very necessary for AirPods to maintain their lead in the truly wireless earphones space. Yes, currently it has competition from brands such as Sony, Bose and Bragi, to name a few—but there is expected to be more in 2019. Popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Google and Amazon are jumping into the battlefield. “The new ear-device competition to break out soon: Google and Amazon to be Apple’s main competitors in the AirPod-alike market; Goertek and Unitech to be the sole suppliers for Google and Amazon’s AirPod-alike products,” says Kuo in his latest report to investors, before adding, “We believe that AirPods’ success has drawn Google and Amazon’s attention and these two companies will launch AirPod-alike products in 2H19. The combined shipments of two brands will likely reach 10–20mn units in 2H19. Goertek (assembly) and Unitech (Rigid-flex PCB) are sole suppliers for Google and Amazon.”

These reports come after we have already heard that the next generation of the AirPods will have the “Hey Siri” feature, water resistance and enhanced health tracking features built-in. There is expectation that Apple will ship around 50 million AirPods in 2019, and around 100 million units by the year 2021.
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