The report, which was spotted by MyHealthyApple, suggests that Apple is interested as to whether or not the AirPods can be used to measure the respiratory rate of the wearer. What’s interesting about this is that it doesn’t actually use any new sensors, but rather it measures the wearer’s breathing rate from the AirPods’ microphone.
According to Apple, “While sensors such as thermistors, respiratory gauge transducers, and acoustic sensors provide the most accurate estimation of a person’s breathing patterns, they are intrusive and may not be comfortable for everyday use. In contrast, wearable headphones are relatively economical, accessible, comfortable, and aesthetically acceptable.”
This technique isn’t exactly new as there are some sleep tracking apps that attempt to track sleep not by your movements, but your breathing/snoring.
Whether or not this study could see Apple introduce new health/fitness features to the AirPods remains to be seen, but the company has stated in the past that they do see the potential in the AirPods to have health tracking features in the future.