Apple working on high-end over-ear headphones with 'interchangeable parts'

AirPods Pro and Beats Solo Pro
AirPods Pro and Beats Solo Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple might be working on new headphones!
  • Bloomberg says that they are high-end over-ear wireless headphones.
  • They will have interchangeable parts for varying uses, such as fitness and comfort.

Apple may be working on new over-ear premium wireless headphones with parts that can be "swapped in and out" according to Bloomberg.

In a breaking report Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu stated:

Apple Inc. is developing over-ear wireless headphones with parts that can be swapped in and out, seeking to augment its AirPods business with a high-end audio product, according to people familiar with the matter. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is working on at least two variations, including a premium version with leather-like fabrics and a fitness-focused model that uses lighter, breathable materials with small perforations, the people said.

The report notes that prototypes of the headphones "have a retro look with oval-shaped ear cups that swivel and a headband connected by thin, metal arms. The arms stem from the top of the ear cups rather than the sides, the people added."

The pads of these headphones are reportedly magnetic so that they can be replaced by a user. This could allow users to change cups between different materials for different uses, such as exercise.

Apple's noise-cancellation technology from the AirPods Pro will reportedly feature, as will Siri voice control and integrated touch controls. The headphones are aimed at the high-end offerings from Bose, Sennheiser, and Sony which retail around $350. The report also states these headphones have been delayed:

The Apple headphones have been in development since at least 2018 and their launch has been postponed at least twice, people familiar with their progress said. The company aims to unveil the product later this year, however complications during final development or from the Covid-19 pandemic could affect the timing and features again, they added.Apple's ability to do final testing on audio products is also potentially compromised by the company's virus-curbing measure of moving most of its employees to working remotely.

This lines up directly with a recent Jon Prosser leak suggesting that Apple plans to launch over-ear headphones at WWDC. From that report:

According to his latest tweet:You ready for this?Apple Over-Ear Headphones Codename: B515 (Think Beats 700) $350 Aimed for WWDCAirPods X Codename: B517 For sports/running (think Beats X) ~$200 Aimed for Sept/OctProbably what DigiTimes thought was "AirsPods Pro Lite"End goal: phase out Beats

Bloomberg says Apple plans to unveil the product "later this year" however this could be subject to more disruption. This is the second pretty concrete rumor we've seen regarding Apple's own over-ear high-end headphones, which now seem to be a lock for an upcoming release.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9