Are these Beats Studio Buds leaks really leaks at all?

Beats Studio Buds Lebron James
Beats Studio Buds Lebron James (Image credit: LeBron James)

The Beats Studio Buds. They're a thing, but they aren't. They will be, but they aren't yet. Except they are because people keep having their photos taken while they're wearing them. But they aren't a thing yet.

Confused? You wouldn't be the only one.

The Beats Studio Buds might be the most leaked earbuds in the history of earbuds that have leaked. We first heard about them when they were outed by iOS 14.6 and tvOS 14.6 betas. Then a week later they received FCC approval. And then they just started popping up everywhere.

Basketballer LeBron James shared a picture to Instagram that showed them in his years. A Roddy Ricch music video was the next place they appeared. Today, USWNT star Alex Morgan was spotted wearing a pair as well – again, on Instagram.

A photo posted by on

That's a ton of leaks for something that seems to be complete and just waiting to be announced. But really, some of these aren't leaks at all, are they?

People like James, Ricch, and Morgan are given these things so they can be seen. It's marketing, pure and simple. And when you're dealing with a company like Beats – or Apple, if you prefer – dates don't get mixed up. These people aren't wearing those out in public by accident and they're absolutely not popping up on Instagram without it being planned in advance.

Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds (Image credit: 9to5Mac)

Let's pretend for a moment that the first of these outings, the LeBron James Instagram post, was a mistake. Everyone who has a pair of these things would surely have been warned to keep them under the radar until told otherwise. But instead, we're seeing them more than ever. This is is the Beats marketing team doing its job, and doing it well.

The only real question is "why?" Why haven't we seen these earbuds announced yet? They're clearly ready and they obviously work. They're built into iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and presumably macOS. They're ready to rock and roll. But they aren't doing.

I don't have an answer to that question, but I do know this – few of these leaks are happening without someone's say so.

Until these things are announced, why not just treat yourself to some of the best AirPods Pro deals we could find instead?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.