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Reports have been increasing in the past few weeks that the new over-ear headphones that Apple has been working on for the past couple of years could actually be right around the corner, and now it seems as if they’re already in production for what could be a late June release.
A report last month suggested that Apple could choose to unveil them at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month, and while hardware announcements at the traditionally developer-focused conference are rare, it certainly wouldn’t be out of the question, considering that Apple also chose to debut its HomePod at the same event back in 2017.
However, HomePod wasn’t available at launch, and in fact it took longer to arrive than most people had anticipated, so even if Apple chose to announce its new over-ear headphones at WWDC 2020, many suspected that they wouldn’t actually go on sale until later this year, especially after evidence for them was only found in iOS 14, which also isn’t expected to arrive until the fall.
Reports from earlier this month indicated that Apple was going to begin production of the new headphones in Vietnam, with shipments expected to start going to Apple in June or July, however now it looks like it all could be coming together even sooner, with DigiTimes reporting that production on the new headphones is already underway.
Originally shared by MacRumors, the reference to AirPods Studio is found as a passing mention in a larger piece on circuit board suppliers for AirPods in general. Notably, DigiTimes also confirms another report from earlier this week that Apple plans to eliminate wired EarPods from the iPhone 12 packaging this year, stating that Apple will be ramping up shipments for its second-generation AirPods in the second half of the year.
As Apple is likely to accelerate dropping its wired earphones, the vendor will resume normal shipments for AirPods 2 in the second half of the year and its new over-ear headphones, dubbed AirPods Studio, has also kicked off production…DigiTimes
The report doesn’t actually offer much more than the fact that the AirPods Studio are already in production, although it seems unlikely that Apple is going to start stockpiling them in warehouses, so it would be odd for us to not hear about them at WWDC next month, especially with it occurring later in June this time around.
Although the name for Apple’s on-ear headphones has been somewhat unclear, a report last week suggested Apple is going to go with the name AirPods Studio as an obvious homeage to its Beats Studio over-ear headphones.
It’s a name that makes sense, as Apple would very likely want to stick with its “AirPods” branding, and the “Studio” name already has a great deal of cachet thanks to the popularity of its Beats brand. Further, Apple has pointedly not updated the Beats Studio in a while, despite releasing the Beats Solo Pro last fall with its newest H1 chip and accompanying AirPods-style features, which leads us to believe that it’s been waiting to release its own Apple-branded “Studio” headphones before — or possibly instead of — “Beats Studio Pro.”
As for what AirPods Studio will bring to the table, beyond just the Apple branding, we’ve only heard a few reports thus far, but it seems obvious Apple is going to be looking to do something unique and different with its first set of over-ear headphones.
For one, they’ll naturally include Apple’s H1 chip, or possibly even a successor to it, enabling features like “Hey Siri”, Audio Sharing, and Announce Messages with Siri. They’re also expected to include other AirPods-like features, such as ear detection that will automatically pause audio when you remove them, and even be able to detect which cup is on which ear. Wireless charging also seems like a possibility, although we’ve heard less about that so far.
AirPods Studio are also expected to take a more fashion-forward approach, incorporating magnetically interchangeable parts that would allow users to customize ear cushions, the headband, and possibly other aspects of the headphones. Much like it does with the Apple Watch, reports suggest that Apple may sell a couple different pre-packaged versions of the AirPods Studio with fitness and luxury styles, but users would also be able to purchase different parts after the fact to customize the headphones to fit their own personal style.
While it still remains unclear when you’ll actually be able to get your hands on AirPods Studio, every indication suggests that we’ll be hearing about them at WWDC, with a release sometime after that which will likely be sooner rather than later.