Hidden Code in iOS 16.5 Reveals Upcoming ‘Beats Studio Pro’ Over-Ear Headphones
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Over the past few years, most of the focus within Apple’s Beats division has been on in-ear wireless earbuds, such as the ultra-affordable Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Studio Buds. By all reports, these have been quite successful, leading many to believe that Apple had decided to put Beats’ on-ear and over-ear headphones out to pasture.
In fact, Beats has made some pretty bizarre decisions in recent years regarding its full-sized headphones. In 2019, it released the Beats Solo Pro, an upgraded version of the 2016 Beats Solo3 that packed in the same H1 chip that was introduced six months earlier in Apple’s second-generation AirPods. In the case of the Beats Solo Pro, that meant support for “Hey Siri” and better active noise cancellation.
Then, two years later, it summarily discontinued them. Yet, even after the Beats Solo Pro rode off into the sunset, the older Solo3 version remained on the market. Meanwhile, the Beats Studio3 that were released in 2017, remain the only over-ear headphones the brand offers to this day. Both models include Apple’s older W1 chip used in the original 2016 AirPods but lack support for Bluetooth 5.0.
It’s not hard to imagine how Apple’s release of the AirPods Max at the end of 2020 may have dampened the company’s enthusiasm for releasing competitive Beats-branded headphones. Certainly, the demise of the Beats Solo Pro could be laid at the feet of Apple’s premium over-ear headphones, but it’s also possible they just hadn’t been selling as well as Apple anticipated.
The market certainly should have been big enough for both sets of headphones, as the Beats Solo Pro were a more lightweight set of on-ear headphones that starkly contrasted with the bulkier over-ear AirPods Max. Plus, they sold for about half the price.
Still, many saw this as a sign that Apple had nixed plans for any future Beats headphones. While rumors of new Beats Solo4 and Studio4 appeared from time to time, these were sporadic and never seemed to gain much traction from the rest of the rumor mill.
Enter the Beats Studio Pro
As surprising as it may be after the demise of the Solo Pro, it does appear that Apple is working on a new, upgraded version of the Beats Studio3, which will likely be similarly dubbed as the Beats Studio Pro.
New code and images discovered by 9to5Mac in this week’s release of iOS 16.5 seemingly confirm the existence of the new headphones while also suggesting that they could be released very soon.
The folks at 9to5Mac have also been able to confirm this with their sources, with additional detail ls suggesting that these could give Apple’s AirPods Max a run for their money. The Beats Studio Pro are expected to feature better noise cancellation than the Beats Studio3, plus a Transparency Mode and even support for Personalized Spatial Audio.
As with most Beats products, the Beats Studio Pro will remain as platform-agnostic as possible. After all, that’s arguably one of the biggest reasons Apple keeps the brand around. In this case, that means a USB-C port for charging and a custom Beats chip instead of Apple’s H1. That second point might also explain why Beats Solo Pro didn’t fit into Apple’s larger vision for its Beats products. Ironically, the USB-C port will also be an upgrade over the Beats Studio3, which are so old they actually use a micro USB connector.
While Apple has done its best to ensure that its Beats earbuds remain distinct from its AirPods — the Beats Fit Pro and Beats Studio Buds are much more workout-focused, and Beats Flex aren’t true wireless earbuds at all. However, Apple could have a harder time accomplishing that with a set of over-ear headphones, which suggests these may come in at a higher price to avoid competing with the premium AirPods Max.
The Beats Solo Pro were a premium version of the Solo3, rather than a successor, and therefore came in with a higher $300 price tag. Although you can easily find them on sale for considerably less, the Beats Studio3 officially sell for $349. If the Beats Studio Pro were to follow in the footsteps of their on-ear equivalent, that could see them arrive with a price tag of $499 or more.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]