Apple was granted a patent today through the USPTO for new headphones with biometrics to track heart rate, perspiration levels and temperature. Details of the filing can be found on the USPTO website.
Interestingly enough, we blogged before about a meeting between Apple and the FDA a few weeks ago, and this looks to be the very first product entry into the fitness category by Apple since that meeting. The"Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" will be able to track physical data such as heart rate, perspiration, body temperature, and through the use of the mentioned accelerometer, also track user movement.
In addition to the physical data and stat tracking, the Patent curiously mentions a "psychological" sensor. While enigmatic in it's explanation, this sensor could potentially utilize the biometric data gathered along with a number of software algorithms to asses or create a picture of a user's overall psychological or mental state. For example, by utilizing input requested on the users iPhone, iPod or iWatch about their age, sex, height, weight, the system could then combine that information with geographical data from GPS for assessing location, altitude, and barometric pressure, adding in monitored health data during exercise or day to day goings about, applying a software algorithm to then generate a picture of a person's psychological state as surmised from their body's reactions to these metrics. All of this is speculation of course, but the mentioned "psychological" sensor BEGS that type of speculation in the absence of any first hand explanation from Apple.
Packing in this much additional tech and hardware into the headphones will make them an even more valuable product than the normal headphones packed in with Apple mobile products. From our experience with Apple's earbuds in the past, one would assume that Apple would make them a much higher quality and more comfortable headphone than previously released sets, as many users don't even take the current headphones out of the package and opt for higher quality, MUCH better sounding ones.