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Following yesterday’s debut of the H1-powered Beats Fit Pro, Apple has now slashed two other significant products from its Beats lineup while slashing the prices of the rest of its wireless earbud lineup.
It’s one of the biggest shakeups to come to the Beats family since Apple first acquired the company back in 2014, and what’s especially interesting is that most of the affected products have been around for less than two years.
Take the Beats Solo Pro, for example. Introduced in the fall of 2019, these became the first traditional headphones to include Apple’s newest H1 chip, which had been introduced only six months earlier on the second-generation AirPods. In fact, until the release of the AirPods Max, the Beats Solo Pro were the only full-size headphones to support “Hey Siri” and other advanced features that came along with Apple’s newest wireless chip.
Even after the AirPods Max landed last December, there was still room for the Beats Solo Pro in the lineup. The on-ear design was lighter and appealed to a significantly different audience than the heavier over-ear AirPods Max. Plus, the Beats Solo Pro sold for about half the price.
Riding into the Sunset
As of today, however, the Beats Solo Pro have been officially discontinued, leaving the AirPods Max as the only way to get the full H1-powered experience with your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. This includes not only voice-activated Siri but also Bluetooth 5.0, faster pairing, and improved battery life.
Along the same lines, Apple is also waving goodbye to the Powerbeats, which were introduced in early 2020 as an H1-equipped replacement for the venerable Powerbeats3. The design of the new Powerbeats remained largely the same as their predecessors. However, the H1 chip allowed them to offer three hours of additional battery life and sound quality equivalent to the more expensive and wire-free Powerbeats Pro.
At $150, the Powerbeats became the least expensive earphones to feature Apple’s H1 chip, but now that they’re off the market, that baton is being picked up by this just-released Beats Fit Pro, which come in at $200.
The other Beats product being axed this week is less remarkable. The Beats EP has arguably been due for the chopping block for a while, as it was the only set of wired headphones remaining in the Beats lineup.
The death of Beats EP and Best Solo Pro leaves the Solo3 Wireless and Studio3 Wireless as the only remaining full-size Beats headphones. These both feature Apple’s older W1 chip, to be fair, but if you want the goodness of the H1, your only option is now the $549 AirPods Max.
The New Roster
The shift in the Beats family does somewhat clean up the product lineup, which now includes only six distinct headphones with almost no overlap between them:
- Beats Fit Pro ($200): Premium true wireless in-ear earbuds with ANC, Transparency modes, and Spatial Audio. Features H1 chip. Roughly equivalent to AirPods Pro.
- Beats Studio Buds ($150, now $130): Fashionable stemless true wireless in-ear earbuds with ANC and Transparency, plus one-touch pairing for both Apple and Android. No W1 or H1 chip at all. No Spatial Audio. Seem designed to compete with Samsung Galaxy Buds.
- Beats Flex ($70, now $50): Very affordable tethered wireless earphones. Feature Apple’s W1 chip for featuring seamless pairing and audio sharing.
- Powerbeats Pro ($250, now $200): Effectively a sportier version of Apple’s AirPods, with external ear hooks for a secure fit. Features H1 chip but lacks ANC/Transparency and Spatial Audio. The design may appeal to some workout enthusiasts and others with an active lifestyle, but it’s an aging product that doesn’t compare favorably to any of Apple’s current lineup.
- Beats Solo3 Wireless ($200): Full-sized on-ear headphones with Apple’s W1 chip. Up to 40 hours of listening time, but no ANC, Transparency, or Spatial Audio.
- Beats Studio3 Wireless ($350): Full-sized over-ear headphones with Apple’s W1 chip and ANC. More affordable than AirPods Max but lack more advanced features like Transparency and Spatial Audio.
In the shadow of the new Beats Fit Pro release, Apple has also discounted the rest of the Beats earbuds, with the Beats Flex at least temporarily returning to their original great price of $50 after mysteriously rising to $70 in late September.
The original Powerbeats Pro, which were the first Beats earphones to get the H1 chip back in 2019, are now selling for a $50 discount, bringing their price down to $200. The Beats Studio Buds have also been similarly discounted by $20.
To be clear, all of these price drops are showing as limited-time offers, and it’s unclear when they may return to their higher prices. Still, if you were considering picking up a set of Beats Flex as a holiday gift but were turned off by the price increase, this is a great opportunity to grab them at the old price.
Further, since the entire Beats product lineup is also sold in Apple Stores, you can take advantage of Apple’s extremely generous holiday season return policy, giving you until January 8, 2022, to return them for a full refund.