The fact that AirPods are already a big success for Apple doesn't mean it is just sitting on its laurels. Quite the contrary, the iPhone maker is already working on an improved version of the product and have already filed for a patent to secure the technology involved.
Said patent dates from March 2017, describing a sports oriented AirPods with biometrics and noise cancellation features. Adding to that is the recent trademark filings from Hong Kong and Europe showing that Apple is updating their AirPods classifications to cover such things as new "wellness sensors" and more. For what it matters, this wasn't present in their original trademark.
Said new trademark filings greatly expand coverage for new possible features for AirPods. The new international classes include class 10, 14 and 28 as outlined below.
Class 10: General wellness instruments, namely, health, fitness, exercise, and wellness sensors, monitors, speakers and displays for measuring, displaying, tracking, reporting, monitoring, storing, and transmitting biometric data, heart rate, body movement, and calories burned; hearing aids; medical apparatus and instruments; apparatus for use in medical analysis; testing apparatus for medical purposes; pulse meters; thermometers for medical purposes; spirometers [medical apparatus]; dental apparatus; heart rate monitoring apparatus; ear plugs [ear protection devices]; feeding bottles; non-chemical contraceptives; hair prostheses; plaster bandages for orthopaedic purposes; suture materials.
Class 14: Horological and chronometric instruments; watches; clocks; timepieces; chronographs for use as timepieces; chronometers; watchstraps; watch bands; cases for watches, clocks, and horological and chronometric instruments; parts for watches, clocks, and horological and chronometric instruments; jewelry; alloys of precious metal; boxes of precious metal.
Class 28: Games and playthings; electronic hand-held game units; electric computer games, other than those adapted for use with television receivers; electrical and electronic amusement apparatus (automatic, coin/counter freed); video games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only; computer game apparatus other than coin operated or those adapted for use with television receivers; video output toys and games; interactive computer toys and games; stand-alone video game machines incorporating a means of display; computer games apparatus, electronic games apparatus and video games apparatus, not included in other classes; game consoles; protective films adapted for screens for portable games; computer game programs, portable games with liquid crystal displays; controllers for game consoles; rocking horses, pinball machines; pinball game machines (toys); musical toys, games and playthings; toy audio apparatus; toy musical boxes; toy musical instruments; toy record players for playing tunes and cassettes; battery operated toys; electronic toys; electronically operated toys and much more.
The addition of class 14 suggests that the next-gen AirPods could work closely with Apple Watch to say, add their own heart-rate readings to the mix, to get better readouts. We know there are such headphones out there — which could read heart rate from the ear — and Apple could add that capability to the mix to create an ultimate heart rate tracking product. One that combines readouts from the wrist and from the ear. Combining the two data inputs could perhaps get more precise results. Sounds like a plan; what do you think?