FCC filing reveals Bose Sport Open Earbuds with mini speakers

A recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing spotted by The Verge reveals plenty of photos of what appears to be a new kind of true wireless earbud from Bose — one that eliminates the traditional in-ear design and replaces it with a small speaker held in place by an earhook. The documents refer to them as the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.

Unlike the company’s most recent true wireless earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds, which use touch-based gestures for control, the Sport Open Earbuds feature small physical buttons on each bud. It’s the same control scheme that Bose uses on its line of audio sunglasses, the Bose Frames. This makes sense: The Sport Open Earbuds and the Bose Frames both make use of small speakers that direct sound into your ears, without blocking off outside sounds with an ear canal-sealing silicone eartip.

Also shown among the external photos of the Sport Open Earbuds is the USB charger, which appears to use a magnetic latch for each earbud, much like the charger for the Apple Watch, or the charger for the Bose Frames.

An open design for headphones can make a lot of sense for those who like to work out to music. When outdoors, it can vastly increase your situational awareness, a key safety concern when jogging near traffic. And whether indoors or not, if you work out with a partner or personal trainer, an open design lets you have a normal conversation without needing to pull out an earbud or switch to an ambient sound mode.

Some people will simply prefer the feeling of not having earbuds wedged deep in their ears. With the earhook design, it’s likely the Sport Open Earbuds will fit more people right out of the box. Even with lots of eartip sizes, there are plenty of folks who just can’t get comfortable with in-ear earbuds.

It will be interesting to see if the design of the Sport Open Earbuds gives users enough control over what they get to hear. I recently tried the Aftershokz Aeropex Mini, a clever, bone-conduction set of headphones that achieves a similar open-ear effect as the pictured Sport Open Earbuds. They work surprisingly well, letting you hear music, podcasts, and phone calls without blocking your ears. But even gentle traffic sounds were able to drown out the voices of podcast hosts.

As with any FCC filing, it’s impossible to know when or if Bose will release the Sport Open Earbuds, or how much they will cost. But as soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know.

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