I was recently (and repeatedly ;)) pointed to these news.
My personal opinion is that I am sceptical, if this is really aimed to actually help the hearing impaired or if it is just one piece in the game of patents. Even if this will yield to actual products, it might certainly not make the market any more open (at least with apple’s history, that would surprise me). I hope we do not end up in a scenario where you can only use Apple products with Apple hearing aids.
But maybe I am wrong and Apple will surprise me. We will see. 🙂
3 thoughts on “Apple’s plans to improve support for the hearing impaired”
As someone that has just starting researching hearing aids due to my mothers hearing loss…. this idea is not new. Yes, it is very innovative, but I know of at least one company, Audiotoniq, that plans on releasing a hearing aid that can be customized via bluetooth and smart phone application. I’m real curious to see how this plays out.
Yes, I am curious about that one, too. 🙂
The true intentions of Apple certainly don’t require too much second guessing.
As a device manufacturer, they have introduced Bluetooth Low Energy hardware across a wide range of products (http://www.bluegiga.com/files/bluegiga/Presentations/BT4_0_for_Apple.pdf), and with a vengeance. This currently puts significant pressure on the market: competitors in Apple’s territory try to get a piece of the cake while embedded device manufacturers try to outrun their own competition in jumping on the ‘smartphones are the new remote controls’ bandwagon. And that’s pretty much exactly what Apple filed patents for.
That they are going after the hearing aid market segment is dead on the money. There simply aren’t many devices that fit the Bluetooth LE bill to begin with, that have a substantial amount of state and functionality to control/query, and that make for a reasonable slice of first-world market value.
As for the openness of it all: That Apple is working with ‘top manufacturers’ on the “Made for iPhone” hearing aids came as a bit of a surprise to those top hearing-aid manufacturers that I know of, who learned about it through the press release.
That being said, I think this will still be a boon to hacking hearing aids! There will be Bluetooth, sub-par security on top of it, and bugs for good measure, and how much more open can it practically get…