It’s not quite official yet, but Apple will be coming out with self-branded, over-the-ear headphones sometime in the not-so distant future.
Past tweets and leaks seemed 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
At the same time, this new FCC filing calls these Apple products “earphones,” a term generally reserved for a much different type of listening device. Is this actually a filing for the AirPods X, also leaked by Prosser, a rumored pair of buds that may be aimed toward sports and running? Or are Apple’s new headphones going to stray from the familiar earcup style and opt for an earhook look?
We don’t have any concrete info beyond the leaks and filings we’ve seen, but we’ll circle back as soon as we know more.
There’s been no news regarding features that Apple’s potential headphones may have. But given the competition they’d be facing, we can take a pretty solid guess about what they might have in store.
First, active noise cancellation. For Apple to compete with Bose products and the Sony WH-1000XM3, its headphones are going to need to come with active noise cancellation. Anything less is a mistake. Plus, it’s going to have to be good cancellation – very good, if they want to challenge Sony for the noise-canceling crown.
Battery life will have to be solid, too. 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.