Apple is developing ultra-premium over-the-ear headphones boasting superior audio playback capabilities and noise-cancellation features rendering it fit to compete with the likes high-end offerings from Bose, according to a research note penned by KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo.
The headset will allegedly sport an “all new” design, distinguishing it from Apple’s other high-end headphone offerings. It will also be Apple-branded, as opposed to representing yet another byproduct of the company’s Beats acquisition. Moreover, Kuo noted, the headset will feature an over-the-ear design similar to Beats, and we can expect it to retail for much more than a pair of AirPods — but little else was revealed about the headset in Kuo’s research note.
On Monday, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and his colleagues corroborated most of Kuo’s previous talking points about Apple’s headset, while also adding a few new details into the mix.
For starters, sources say, Apple’s headset will feature the same (or similar) pairing technology present in the company’s AirPods wireless ear buds — likely to be facilitated by a current or updated version of Cupertino’s own W2 chip. Moreover, they will allegedly feature an advanced noise-cancellation platform assisted by some of the HomePod’s core technologies, which the publication noted may appear in the form of multiple noise-cancelling microphones.
Unfortunately, sources cautioned, it appears that Apple has been struggling to find direction amid its pursuit to create the headphones.
“Work on the Apple headset has been on-and-off over the past year,” Gurman and his colleagues wrote, noting how the Cupertino tech-giant encountered “similar problems” when it went to build its $349 standalone Siri-speaker, HomePod. The HomePod was ultimately delayed due to “multiple issues,” including at least one major error that required the speaker to be completely redesigned, sources said.
Interestingly, “It’s possible Apple will redesign the headphones again before launch, or scrap the project altogether,” sources cautioned, requesting the usual layer of anonymity given their lack of authorization to discuss Apple’s ongoing product development.
Gurman noted that the headset Apple is working on will target the very high-end of the headphone market, and will certainly be priced, accordingly. How much they’ll end up selling for, if and when they hit the market, remains to be seen; but the long-time Apple analyst noted that they’ll more than likely follow the same marketing strategy as the company’s $349 HomePod speaker.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment when pressed for additional details by Bloomberg News.
Apple plans to launch the headphones as early as the end of this year, Gurman added, however these new developments could potentially push the release into 2019.