Apple is reportedly working on a product that'll launch into the wearable tech market early next year. We're not talking about an iWatch, though. Instead, Apple is believed to be working with Denmark-based GN ReSound on an iPhone-connected hearing aid.
According to a report published by Reuters on Sunday, Apple has collaborated with GN ReSound help bring the Made for iPhone LiNX hearing aid to market. The device uses "Bluetooth-like" technology that will allow hearing-impaired users to stream voice and music from their iPhone without needing another device.
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In addition to the collaboration with GN Store Nord, Apple is said to be in talks with other hearing aid manufacturers to discuss how their earpieces can communicate with the 2.4GHz Bluetooth technology that's found in Apple's iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 4S and is already used for iBeacon and activity trackers such as the Fitbit.
The upcoming GN Store Nord LiNX hearing aids use Bluetooth to eliminate the need for a separate transmitter to be worn. Morgan Stanley has described the device as "the first attempt to turn a hearing aid into more of a lifestyle product."
With Apple's input, hearing aids could become more aesthetically pleasing, which could boost the confidence of those with hearing problems or those who are putting off a visit to the doctors about their deteriorating hearing.
Research estimates that three out of four people suffering from hearing problems don't use a hearing aid, partly due to the stigma that surrounds them, so a more attractive hearing aid could help solve this problem.
Apple has previously filed multiple patents relating to hearing aids this year, as highlighted by Patently Apple. It certainly seems to be a market that Apple is interested in, and with a value of $15 billion and premium products in the industry selling for more than $3,000 (£1,850), it could be a profitable one, too.