Following the success of the company’s AirPods, is Apple going to launch a premium over-ear product of its own?
Move over, Beats. A new branded headset could be on the horizon, and it would have the backing of a huge player in the space that could give it a popularity boost in the very places your headsets are sold. We’re talking, of course, about Apple—yes, the company that Beats is a subsidiary of, and one that has a vested interest in expanding its potential for profits across a variety of categories, especially those related to music.
According to a recent report from AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple might launch its own high-end, over-ear headphone that shares some of the wireless capabilities of the company’s tinier AirPods. The goal, Kuo suggests, would be to offer a heaping dose of portability and performance—headphones that would offer a much more impressive sound than a pair of AirPods, but still be just as convenient for everyday, cord-free use.
Kuo also teased that the Apple headphones would have an “all new” design, but it’s unclear whether that means Apple might move away from the traditional “band over the head” style for headphones or simply improve a typical design based on the materials it uses or some new tricks the company is considering. If the headphones launch—which Kuo says is unlikely before the fourth quarter of 2018, at minimum—Apple would likely position them as a premium device. (In other words, start saving up now.)
It’s also unclear just what chips Apple might throw into a pair of premium headphones. It’s possible that the company could just borrow whatever its using in the latest version of its AirPod, or it could go design a brand-new chip that enables extra functionality for its Apple headphones—which could include features like noise cancellation, increased battery life, quick charging, or adjustable noise cancellation levels, to name a few.
Though this is all just Apple rumor-stirring at this point, Apple’s potential interested in headphones does make a lot of sense from a business standpoint. If differentiated enough, the headphones could even stand alongside Apple’s Beats lineup, much as the company’s current AirPods and BeatsX wireless headphones share space on Apple store shelves.