updated 03:33 pm EST, Mon November 25, 2013
Tech eliminates need for intermediary streamer
A Danish company, GN ReSound, has collaborated with Apple to develop the first Made for iPhone-certified hearing aid, Reuters says. The LiNX is capable of connecting directly to an iPhone using Bluetooth Low Energy, instead of first connecting to an intermediary "streamer" that bridges Bluetooth devices and regular hearing aids. The LiNX will let people stream music and make phone calls, as with a dedicated Bluetooth headset; a companion iOS app will let people configure device settings.
Other MFI-certified hearing aids are under development by Denmark's William Demant and Minnesota's Starkey Technologies, but neither company as officially announced them. The LiNX will ship in early 2014 at a cost of over $3,000.
Reuters comments that "frequent visits" were made between Apple and GN ReSound in order to improve APIs and battery life -- particularly the latter, which is crucial in a medical accessory. Because the LiNX depends on Bluetooth LE, only the most recent Apple devices will be supported, such as the iPhone 5s.