Apple has made a number of strategic purchases in the 20th century will give strong indication of where the hockey puck will be at some point in the future.
Remember Beats headphones and Beats music? Apple is in the wearables and streaming music business. Remember the chip company Apple bought a decade ago? Apple’s own CPU designs power iPhone, iPad, Watch, and AirPods.
Remember Logic? OK, maybe not. Logic was a company that developed audio recording and production software. Apple bought Logic. That brought us GarageBand and Logic Pro X. Apple bought a video product app from Macromedia back in the last century and that gave us Final Cut Pro.
See how that works?
Apple makes strategic moves with personnel hires and technology acquisitions. What’s next?
Prognosticating the future is an effort with few rewards for certified Apple watchers, but I see some that appear logical. Imagine Watch with built-in blood glucose monitor. Imagine a set of AirPods that also double as hearing aids.
I bring this up because my dear wife’s hearing has begun to show her age. Too many rock concerts and loud music as a teenager combined with getting older, has resulted in hearing that requires more frequent, “What?” notices after I ask a question or say something she should have heard.
We started looking around for hearing aids and the industry is ripe for a revolution. At the high end are devices priced from $3,000 to $10,000 that can fit into almost any ear and be fully programmed from an iPhone app to match whatever hearing problem may exist.
At the low end of the scale are hearing aids which range in price from $35 to $500 and more that are less sophisticated and act more like microphones and loudspeakers for the ear. Pay more, get more.
We decided to keep the price tag under $100 to see what impact some additional sound volume would bring to her hearing. The results were good. Fewer “What?” tells the tale.
What if Apple’s AirPods were the future of a new business for the iPhone maker? If Apple buys a company like Eargo then you can be sure hearing aid capabilities might show up on future AirPods models. Advanced hearing technology in a device for affluent masses.
My wife says the $5,000 hearing aids she tried were an incredible experience. The $100 pair is an improvement over her current hearing status.
Would you be interested in AirPods if they could enhance outside sound similar to hearing aids?
The hearing aid business is highly fragmented with a broad range of technology and prices. Is that not exactly what prompted Apple to enter the portable music player business, the smartphone business, the headphone and wearables business?
History repeats itself.