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 this fall — and maybe even within the next few weeks or days.
Past tweets and leaks — including a recent flurry of them — seem to have confirmed as much, and with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) application for “totally wireless high-performance earphones” being approved, it’s only a matter of time. The question now is, “When?” Also, we can’t help but wonder what they’ll look like, the features they’ll have, and how much they’ll cost.
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
In May, 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-like aesthetic.
Looks like Apple is sticking with the “AirPods” branding for their new over-ear headphones.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 9, 2020
Several additional, unconfirmed leaks have surfaced in recent days with more clues about the design. Self-proclaimed Apple leaker/analyst Jioriku posted a Twitter thread suggesting design elements like a “high-quality soft-touch finish,” linear adjustment to aid fitment, and earcups that fold inward to be stored in an Apple-branded carry bag. We would advise proceeding with caution concerning these leaks, though the details are almost too specific to not be at least partly true.
Alright I spoke with someone who has had some hands on time with final prototypes of the AirPods Studio. According to his individual judgement, if you’re dead set on using Siri (why do you like hurting yourself?) then DON’T by any Sony WX offerings (1)
— Jiorīku (@Jioriku) September 2, 2020
None of this is official, of course, meaning it’s the words of Apple leakers against the silence of the company itself. A recent US patent application first spotted by Apple Insider seems to back up the leaked information, however, detailing features like the ability to “automatically (detect) the orientation of the headphones on a user’s head.”
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-1000XM4 without ANC.
Revisiting the leak tweets from Jioriku, the headphones may also have native NFC pairing for non-Apple devices, capacitive touch gestures on the earcups, and an earcup cupping gesture that enables an ambient sound mode.
His unit was set up to use one hand over either left or right ear cups to activate the mode that boosts outside audio and turns music down. Brand new chip for even faster pairing and longer battery life. Expect over a day with normal use, moderate is one day and heavy is 8h (7)
— Jiorīku (@Jioriku) September 2, 2020
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 we know in terms of leaked specs, but we have a few more items on our AirPods Studio wish list. First, battery life. Sony’s over-ears can last up to 30 hours on a single charge, which 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.
There are even fewer details about the audio quality of the Apple headphones than there are about features. But Apple has a solid track record in the audio landscape, and anything it comes out with is 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. This is all to say that the Apple headphones will have their work cut out for them in an already strong market.
There are some discrepancies about when exactly these new Apple cans could be released. On the one hand, the Twitter account iAppleTimes is claiming that the AirPods Studio are destined for a September 8 release date.
But I am claiming to tell the dates of Airpods Studio.
I said almost a month ago that Airpods Studio will come before 10th September. I also told to keep an eye on 7th Sept which turns out to be a holiday.
So now it’ll come on 8th September. https://t.co/hzze0IPM9s pic.twitter.com/Ne9KSwb4ux
— iAppleTimes (@iAppleTimes) September 2, 2020
However, Prosser has tweeted that “something” is happening in the Apple world on September 8, though it might not necessarily be the AirPods Studio. To further complicate matters, a Bloomberg report based on an anonymous source suggests that the AirPods Studio may instead be released in October alongside several other Apple products.
There is no way of really knowing which rumor is true, but it’s safe to assume Apple’s Sony competitor may be surfacing soon. 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.
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