Will Samsung’s new IconX, and Apple’s Rumored Wireless Earpods, Disrupt Hearing Aid Industry Further in 2016?

apple earpod samsung iconx
May 11, 2016

Last week the world caught its first glimpse of Samsung’s new IconX hearable device. The leaked images, but scant details, spread across the tech world like wildfire. It appears that Samsung is ready to go toe-to-toe with Apple if the tech giant decides to make the rumored, but radical, decision to ditch the headphone/audio jack on the next iPhone in lieu of wireless ‘Earpods’.

The iPhone 7 would then use the wireless Earpod devices to stream phone calls and other audio (like music) to the user’s ears via Bluetooth.


Samsung Leak


Samsung’s new device, the IconX, is rumored to be both a music player and a fitness tracker. Reportedly, the touch-controlled devices may have as much as 4GB of storage to endlessly stream your favorite music.

Some writers have compared the new IconX and its rumored features, to the Bragi Dash, which has created a lot of buzz inside and outside the hearing industry.

In the leaked documents, the IconX devices are shown in a carrying case that doubles as a charger. The devices are expected to be compatible with Samsung’s upgraded S Health App.



Leaked images of Samsung’s new IconX wireless earbuds. Images courtesy Digital Trends


Further details on cost and projected release date have yet to be confirmed by the company.


Apple’s Wireless Earpods


There has been a lot of buzz in recent months in the tech world over rumors that Apple may do away with its headphone/audio jack on the new iPhone 7, which is expected to be released this fall. Rather than traditional headphones, Apple is rumored to be including new wireless earbuds, dubbed “Earpods”, for its next generation smartphone. The new Earpods would stream phone calls and other audio—all without the user being tethered to their phone by cords.

Oscar Raymundo, a staff writer at macworld, put together a short video discussing the possibility that Apple may truly adopt wireless headphones and what people may expect out of the new Earpods.



Click the image above to be taken to the macworld video


The new Earpods, insiders say, are rumored to include a microphone and have a rechargeable carrying case. According to Raymundo, the new Earpods are expected to have enhanced Siri integration via “Hey Siri” voice control commands.


Implications for Hearing Industry


While the details provided so far are mostly rumors and speculation, if either Samsung and/or Apple made on-ear wireless hearing devices the standard offering for newly purchased smartphones, the impact on the hearing industry could be profound.

Widespread adoption of such on-ear devices could certainly have potential to further alleviate hearing aid stigma, and due to their relatively low-cost, they may also place additional downward pressure on hearing aid pricing—which is likely to make consumers happy.

Whether this possible trend would translate into a large increase in sales of hearing aids, PSAPs or hearables, still remains unknown. One thing that is known: anything that helps reduce the stigma of wearing hearing aids is likely going to be very welcome news to hearing professionals and the patients and families they serve.


Source: Digital Trends, Macworld;  Title image courtesy Digital Trends and Cult of Mac

  1. This could have a profound negative effect on people who use hearing aids and cochlear implants. Ear buds generally don’t work with either one. No audio jack means no hearing neckloop. Made for iPhone hearing aids could hear the streamed, bluetooth sounds but would not be able to take advantage of the hey siri hands free due to lack of microphone out. Apple could alienate all other hearing aid and cochlear implant users and set themselves up for an accessibility lawsuit.

    1. To follow up on your comments, some of the rumors suggest Apple will make headphones that plug through its power connector but the standard would be EarPods. However, this is still speculative.

      1. There are so many people hooked on (analog) headphones these days. Not supporting those customers somehow would be nuts.

  2. After looking at the proposed PSAP products I believe the hearing aid industry has nothing to worry about. They look large and not ergonomic. It does not look adjustable PLUS the price point is over $200. Finally, many seniors are confounded with Apple technology.

  3. For those approaching or even within the hearing aid issue, is it thinkable to wait until these developments come to the marketplace in hopes of a superior or well functioning technology at a much better price, comes into play? Reminds me of the early stages of computing when consumers waited for the better products to arrive as they popped up constantly. We survived that dilemma as it seemed to be a no win situation. Investing in six thousand buck hearing aids now makes you think.

  4. . This is the best fitness tracker. It looks like very much it brings an extra out looking. I am very happy to wear it. It has a pedometers that helps me to count every steps with calories burned. It is my iPhone supported tracker for this I can use my phone better. It works as a fashionable tracker it reminds me incoming SMS, notification, alarms etc.
    I very satisfied with it.

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