[FACT OR FAKE #54] Is It True That Apple Is Making Health-Monitoring Biometric EarPods?

A seemingly wild rumour of Apple planning to launch new EarPods headphones with integrated heart rate and blood pressure sensors made the rounds of Internet after the claim was posted on anonymous information sharing platform Secret earlier this month.

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Earlier this month, a story was widely circulated throughout the Internet that Apple’s next EarPods would feature Biometric Sensors for reading health vitals

Screenshot of the story posted on Secret

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The "leak" was originally posted on Secret, an anonymous sharing platform, by someone claiming to be an ex-Apple employee.

In the comments on that post, the anonymous source offers more details on the new EarPods. Apparently the earphones will feature a redesigned remote and a microphone with better noise cancellation. The new EarPods are also said to include iBeacon sensors to help prevent them from getting lost. The anonymous source claims he or she was "sent home for good last week" and is now sharing this information "because I hate being manipulated."

The "leak" had no way of being verified, but that didn't stop it from appearing in everywhere from major tech blogs (even Mashable) to news outlets all over the world

Screengrab of Mashable's story on the "leak"

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Screengrab of The Guardian's story on the "leak"

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The quick spread indicates one of the problems with the 24/7, fast-paced news cycle, that how unverified stories get picked up and passed around, even when no one has done any fact-checking of the rumour’s claims

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So, will the future version of Apple's EarPods include sensors to measure heart rate and blood pressure? How much of all this is a FACT or FAKE?

An Associated Press reporter holds the Apple EarPods during a product review in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012.

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FAKE: Apple is NOT developing Biometric EarPods. It's a HOAX and the creator of the hoax has come out and admitted that he made it all up while on the toilet.

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The admission came via a Tumblr post that the author linked/verified in the original Secret posting. The poster claims the intent wasn't to be malicious — or to mislead people — but to use Secret as "an outlet for comedy" and to "give my friends a laugh".

The guy behind the Secret post created the fake product mainly as a joke, but also because he wished there would be an iPhone accessory like it to help him with health-related readouts. "I didn't aim for it to be so popular, I spent next to zero effort on writing it or spreading it." At the end of the day, he "just made it all up on the shitter."

"I made it up," said the unnamed creator on Tumblr. "I wrote it 5 minutes after I woke up on the 1st of may. I was blurry eyed, I had a headache, I was using the toilet and worrying about my blood pressure."

The leaker also apologizes for being "an accidental troll" and promises to "think twice" about what he says online

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And just in case you think Apple had gotten to the leaker and asked them to shoot down these claims, the leaker says that’s not the case. He/she has never worked for Apple and has never been in contact with them, they write.

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