Apple Granted Another Patent
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents. This includes a 9-year-old Apple patent. Patent Application number 60980381. The application has the title “Sports Monitoring System for Headphones, Earbuds, and/or Headsets”. It was pitched by Apple on Oct. 16, 2007. It has been pending since then.
Is Apple Planning To Advance Health Monitoring?
It is one of earliest pieces of evidence pointing to Apple’s push into the fitness and health monitoring field. Directing that Apple may be interested in tapping into the $148 billion U.S. market for medical devices. The patent states the first generation sports monitoring system Nike + iPod – monitored distance and speed. Meanwhile, the next generation systems would provide sensing of other user characteristics like temperature, perspiration and heart rate.
According To The Patent
“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. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data). Such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The monitoring system can also be used to control a an electronic device. In one embodiment, the monitoring system facilitates user control of the electronic device using head gestures.”
Apple intends to model the new wearable health device that could be fashioned into different accessories. It could, for example, be a watch, a ring, a brooch or something else entirely. While an ECG-capable ring or brooch would be a niche item, it would be critical for cardiology tests.
The Patent Goes On To Say:
“Advantageously, the invention can provide monitoring capabilities within a hearing device. Assuming the user is otherwise using the hearing device, such as to provide audio output by a portable media player, the user gains monitoring capabilities without requiring the user to wear or carry an additional article.”
There is no need to get all excited yet. Companies patent things all the time. And it doesn’t necessarily reflect that they are actually working on them at the time.