Recently the Internet has been ablaze with rumors that the next iPhone would be shipping with a special type of earbuds that would extend the biometrics on the flagship smartphone from security into the realm of active living.
An anonymous tipster claiming to be a former Apple employee shared the bogus idea on the social app Secret: that the signature white earbuds would be receiving an upgrade with the launch of the next iPhone iteration. The speculated audio peripherals would boast the ability to measure a user’s heart rate and blood pressure.
The still anonymous rumor-smith published a blog post on Tumblr yesterday, debunking the myth of the biometric headphones.
So, what can we learn from this flash in the pan Apple rumor? Well, for starters it is an excellent demonstration of the kind of hype that Apple is able to create around future product releases simply by virtue of keeping its secrets so well. Even though this particular rumor has been debunked, no official comment from the iLife company still keeps the rumor in the realm of plausibility.
Despite the excitement displayed by bloggers and news media, the technology that was being falsely attributed to the next iPhone’s earbuds is not new or cutting edge. Earlier this year at CES 2014, LG officially announced its own heart rate headphones as part of its active lifestyle line of wearables (including the LG Lifeband).
Another thing that this rumor particularly underlines is the hunger that consumers and the media both share for new features on mobile devices. Smartphones, tablets and the consumer facing biometrics that are becoming synonymous with them are not only items that can make life safer and more convenient, but also are key to the mobile tech culture that has developed around these devices.
The eagerness with which this rumor was spread is a clear sign that people are still very interested in unique biometric applications on Apple devices almost a year after rumors of what would eventually be revealed as Touch ID started to spring up.
It is also an excellent reminder to keep a healthy amount of skepticism when taking a stroll through the increasingly active mobile ID rumor mill.