Apple’s rumored over-ear premium headphones could officially debut in 2019, according to a new report.
In February, former KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first reported that Apple was developing over-ear headphones scheduled to launch later this year. But a Bloomberg report from March suggested that Apple was running into trouble finding a direction for the device, and noted that it could roll out in 2019 — or be scrapped altogether.
But today, in a report about Apple’s expanding audio accessory lineup, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman doubled-down that the headphones were still being worked on, in lieu of development challenges. Gurman reiterated that the device could officially launch next year.
All three reports agree that the headphones would be sold under Apple’s own brand, rather than as a Beats product. The newest Bloomberg report, interestingly, theorizes that the device would be a “higher-end alternative” to Apple’s Beats lineup.
The over-ear headphones would compete primarily with other premium-tier models from companies like Bose and Sennheiser, the reports suggest. But while the device is being aimed at the very high-end segment, it’s not currently clear how much they will retail for.
For context, Bloomberg notes that Bose’s top-tier headphones cost $349.
In his February research note, Kuo forecasted that the over-ear headphones would be “as convenient” as AirPods, suggesting that they could use Apple’s proprietary W-series chipset for connectivity.
Kuo also noted that they’d sport an “all-new” design, high-quality audio, and noise cancellation features. On that last note, Kuo theorized that Apple could bring some of HomePod’s underlying technologies to the audio accessory.
Additionally, it’s been reported that Apple has already tapped several of its existing suppliers to help build out the new acoustic accessory.
Apple has found new success with its Other Products category, and specifically with its high-end audio accessories. AirPods, for example, have been a breakout hit. And while HomePod hasn’t been as well-received, Apple is also rumored to be working on a lower-cost variant of that device to drive sales.
The addition of over-ear headphones to Apple’s premium first-party audio lineup could help that product segment become “more complete,” Kuo noted back in February.