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Apple headphones to feature health monitors in future?

Heart rate monitors and blood pressure sensors could be embedded in new headphones

Apple iPod headphones with apple fruit

Health sensors could be built into Apple's new EarPod headphones to monitor users' heart rate and blood pressure, according to rumours.

A poster on the gossip app Secret, reportedly a disgruntled former employer, told users the new EarPods will feature biometric detectors.

The new setup will require a device's lightning port, which is reportedly why the the firm is moving its devices' audio jacks.

Apple is already taking some tentative steps down a health-centric route: iOS 8 will reportedly integrate an app called "Healthbook", used for tracking a variety of health and fitness data.

The anonymous poster wrote: "[The device] stores the data in a similar way to thumbprint point data, fully encrypted and nothing identifiable. Nice to send to your doctor to keep track of [when] your blood pressure started rising for example."

Any data that will be collected by the earphones will be secured within the phone for easy and secure access, they added.

Despite the claim being posted on a gossip site, patent actions by Apple add weight to the claims.

Apple applied for a patent in 2007, proposing the notion of sensors collecting data from users, although it referred only to use in an iPod or iPhone. A second patent, however, filed in February 2014, mentions headphone-based monitoring exclusively.

"The monitoring system can be used with a hearing device, headphones, earbuds or headsets ... 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."

With iWatch rumours also focusing on the possible inclusion of health-related apps, it seems Apple is seriously looking at the future possibilities of biometric data.

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