Apple's new headphones could collect health data and never get lost

Apple could launch new biometric alongside a health-focused phone and operating system expected later this year

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The Independent Tech

Apple is working on a new set of headphones that will measure users’ health and never get lost, according to reports, which will be released alongside a similar new phone and software later this year.

“Apple’s new EarPods will have sensors in them, for heart rate and blood pressure,” one user wrote on anonymous sharing app Secret. The headphones will feature iBeacons — Apple’s recently released location technology — so they don’t get lost, the post said. It claimed the headphones will use the lightning port, which is used for charging and data and was moved to the bottom of the phone when the iPhone 5 was released.

The data will be encrypted and made complete anonymous, the Secret post claimed, with users able to send the information to doctors. The earphones — which Apple calls EarPods — will also feature a redesigned remote with better noise cancelling.

The company has patent filings matching the claims going back years. It filed for a patent on headphones that collected physiological data in March 2007.

Health data is expected to be a large part of iOS 8, Apple’s new mobile operating system which is expected to be released later this year. The forthcoming iPhone 6 is expected to feature a ‘Healthbook’ app, which will collect data on activity and weight, potentially using new hardware. A range of third-party accessories already exist to collect data such as lung capacity.

Apple is hiring new staff to the team that looks after wearable technology, according to Macrumors. It has hired MIT researcher Eric Winokur, who has previously worked on vital signs monitors that fit in the ear.