It’s easy to forget that Apple owns the Beats brand. With the popularity of AirPods, it sometimes seems like Apple has forgotten that fact, too.
But a new report suggests that Beats isn’t being left behind. A reliable source familiar with Apple’s plans told CNET that a completely wire-free version of Beats will be hitting the market soon.
That’s significant because current versions of Beats’ wireless headphones still have some sort of cable. Powerbeats3, for example, are Bluetooth-based but have a wire running between them. The upcoming version reportedly won’t have any wires.
In other words, the rumored device could be Beats’ answer to AirPods. Killing off wires entirely isn’t the only page Beats is taking out of the AirPods book, either.
According to CNET, the new Bluetooth Beats headphones will use Apple’s H1 wireless chip, and so they’ll have hands-free Hey Siri functionality, quicker connectivity, and longer talk times.
That could bode extremely well for the Beats brand. The company’s various headphones already sport some of the most-requested features for AirPods — like water-resistance, better noise isolation, and a slick black color scheme.
Presumably, the wireless Beats will also be better suited for working out, with some type of over-ear system that could keep them in place during vigorous activity. Similarly, some Beats actually come with a set of interchangeable ear tips. That allows them to fit in a much wider variety of ears than AirPods can.
On the other hand, it isn’t clear if the new Beats headphones will be Qi wireless charging compatible. If we had to bet, our money would be on wireless charging remaining an AirPods exclusive for the foreseeable future.
But Beats could fill a niche that AirPods simply can’t in their current form. And Apple does own both brands, so it’ll probably end up being a win-win for the company either way.
CNET’s source says the updated, wire-free version of Beats are slated to debut in April. There’s no word on pricing, but the current version of Powerbeats retail for $199 and are currently $100 off on Amazon.