Apple is planning to launch its own brand of over-the-ear headphones to join the in-ear AirPods. In this article we look at the rumours and clarifications of Apple’s plans below, including the expected price, release date and name for the new headgear. We’ve also got some brilliant-looking concept illustrations.
Apple expanding its audio lineup
The rumour first came from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who issued a research note in February 2018 saying: “Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest.”
Then Apple’s interest in developing the product was confirmed by Bloomberg sources in March 2018. The ‘people familiar with the product’s development’ claimed that Apple “plans to launch the headphones as early as the end of this year , but has faced development challenges that might push back the release.”
A second Bloomberg report in June 2018 confirmed that this release date has indeed been pushed back to 2019.
Apple had initially intended to introduce the new over-ear headphones by the end of 2018, but has “faced development challenges” according to Bloomberg sources.
According to Kuo, these “high-end over-ear headphones” will make Apple’s “acoustic accessory lineup more complete”. Apple’s decision to launch more headphones, despite owning Beats, will build on its ‘Pod lineup that includes EarPods, AirPods, HomePod and the iPod.
In it’s March report, Bloomberg noted that the addition to Apple’s wearables and accessories segment – a category that includes AirPods, Beats headphones, the Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPad accessories – makes sense as during their February 2018 financial results call the company revealed that they saw a surge of 70 percent in wearable product sales in 2017.
While the new Apple headphones could cannibalise sales of Apple-owned Beats headphones, Bloomberg doesn’t think that Apple will stop producing Beats headphones. “Given the strength of the Beats headphone name, the company will likely keep that brand while developing a different new one for the new headphones,” suggests Bloomberg.
What will Apple’s headphones be called?
We don’t know what these new over-ear headphones will be called. Apple calls the in-ear headphones AirPod, so the headphones could have the prefix Air, although it is just as likely that they will use the Pod name, like the EarPods, AirPods, HomePod, and originally the iPod.
We like the names StudioPods, SoundPods, or AudioPods.