It’s not quite official yet, but Apple will be coming out with self-branded, over-the-ear headphones dubbed the Apple AirPods Studio, possibly as soon as summer 2020.
Past tweets and leaks seem to have confirmed as much, and with a recent Federal Commincations Commisssion (FCC) application for “totally wireless high-performance earphones” being approved, it’s only a matter of time. The only question now is when? Also, what will they look like? What features will they have? What will they cost?
OK, maybe there’s more than one question left to answer. Here’s everything we know about Apple’s rumored headphones:
Just how these new Apple headphones are going to look is an interesting subject. On April 7, tech analyst Jon Prosser leaked details about the headphones, saying that they’d be similar to Beats over-ears or the Bose 700.
You ready for this? ????
Apple Over-Ear Headphones
(Think Beats 700)
Aimed for WWDC
(think Beats X)
Aimed for Sept/Oct
☝️ Probably what DigiTimes thought was “AirsPods Pro Lite”
End goal: phase out Beats ????
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 7, 2020
More recently, Prosser tweeted out the reportedly official name for the new over-ear headphones, the AirPods Studio. This, plus leaked icons spotted earlier in the year, support the claim that Apple will opt for a Bose-ish aesthetic.
Looks like Apple is sticking with the “AirPods” branding for their new over-ear headphones.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 9, 2020
We haven’t seen any actual photos or official design specs from Apple at this point, so we don’t have a full picture of these headphones yet. We’ll update this section as soon as we have a clearer view of what the AirPods Studio will look like.
Website 9to5Mac has reported on a number of alleged specs for the AirPods Studio, citing multiple unnamed sources close to the project. Among these, features like neck detection and active noise cancellation (ANC) stand out.
According to 9to5Mac, the AirPods Studio will be able to detect when they’re being placed on your head, and play or pause content accordingly. Neck detection will allow the headphones to stay on when you have the device around your neck, with the music paused.
The site also says the AirPods Studio will have active noise cancellation, plus a transparency mode to be able to let outside noise in when appropriate. We expected this, because Apple won’t be able to compete with industry leaders like the Sony WH-1000XM3 without ANC.
One more feature that’s being reported is custom equalizer settings when paired with a Mac or iOS device, allowing listeners to adjust low, medium, and high frequencies to their liking.
That’s it as far as leaked specs, but we have a few more items on our AirPods Studio wish list. First, battery life. When Sony’s over-ears can last for up to 30 hours on a single charge, it sets the bar fairly high for what kind of juice premium headphones need to have. And given the reported cost of the Apple headphones (more on that later), it’s going to have to bring it in terms of battery life.
Other features, like built-in voice assistants, intuitive controls, and multi-device connectivity are also going to be pretty important for Apple to include.
There are even fewer details about audio quality on the Apple headphones than there are about features. But Apple was an audio company first and foremost, and anything it comes out with will be expected to sound great.
In his tweets, Prosser said the new Apple headphones will cost $350. If this is true, they’ll be firmly in the price range of the Bose and Sony headphones, as well as other solid options like the Shure Aonic 50. Which is all to say that the Apple headphones will have their work cut out for them in an already strong market.
Prosser said the headphones were being targeted for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. While Apple hasn’t confirmed this — or any of the above information — there’s a possibility that we could be seeing Apple-branded headphones debut within the next two months.
Adding weight to all this is a report that suggests the manufacturing of the new headphones has already begun, according to a DigiTimes update spotted by MacRumors:
As Apple is likely to accelerate dropping its wired earphones, the vendor will resume normal shipments for AirPods 2 in the second half of the year and its new over-ear headphones, dubbed AirPods Studio, has also kicked off production, all securing growth momentum for rigid-flex boards suppliers for the devices, including Unitech Printed Circuit Board and Compeq Manufacturing, the sources said.
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