Wearable technology is on the rise.

Smart watches sparked our fascination not long ago, and smart sensors are now being found on just about anything we wear.

Enter the iPhone 7 with something new.

Almost every year since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007, the company has brought on a new and improved version of its revolutionary smartphone. The 2016 edition is now water-resistant, faster, and has a longer battery life and a better camera. But it is lacking in one feature—no headphone jack.

Photo by Maurizio Pesce, https://www.flickr.com/photos/pestoverde/28956955583/, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This year, the iPhone 7 has cut the cord with prior versions and now utilizes wireless earbuds, known as AirPods (not iBuds?).
Once again, Apple is steering users to its next great thing—like the touchscreen.
Lots of people didn’t like giving up those tiny keys & keyboards back in 2007, but they adapted. Now, the touchscreen is a given. We love it, right?
This is a perfect example of true innovation and out of the box thinking. Ten years from now, will we be using earphones with cords? Chances are good that we won’t. It’s hard to chance a mindset initially, but the AirPods will most likely become the wave of the future and another fun story of reminiscing “remember when headphones had cords!?”
AirPods (which retail for about $160) are more than headphones and speakers.
They put artificial intelligence in your ears:

  • Your Apple virtual assistant, Siri, follows your voice commands.
  • Sensors detect when the earbuds are in your ears. They stop playing when removed. If you just take one out of your ear, the sensor shifts the sound to the one earbud.
  • Your AirPods’ W1 chip not only syncs the two earbuds but makes pairing with other devices a breeze.
  • AirPods know when you’re talking, so they launch microphones that cancel out everything but your voice.

If you’re concerned about the lack of a phone jack for the iPhone 7, Apple quite graciously provides a “dongle” connector that plugs into the phone’s existing charging jack.
Your smartphone is really a small computer.
Devices like the new AirPods add “hearable AI” to the broad functionality of your vital mobile device. This technology isn’t Apple’s alone. Other technology leaders are trying to get a grip on your ears. Bragi has partnered with IBM to build an IoT platform for The Dash earbuds. Currently, The Dash are wireless headphones designed for touch controlled, noise-cancelling sound and fitness tracking. With IBM, Bragi plans to convert the hearables to a business communication device that enables workers to talk with one another and monitor the workplace (i.e., keep track of workers).
Google is trying to somehow blend its Google Glass 2 technology with wearables. The Aura Project is working on a hearable computer that works with or without other wearables.
Sony is also plugging into the hearables market with its Xperia Ear. This AI earbud will read your texts to you, and you can use the virtual assistant feature (like Siri) to find you directions, answers, and other vital knowledge.
Technology is getting deeper and deeper into our heads with artificial intelligence. The new wireless earbuds and hearable computers are doing it…literally!
Stay tuned for more on AI and AR!