Why I would pay more for Apple headphones with replacement parts

Various Apple products, including beats headphones and a macbook
Various Apple products, including beats headphones and a macbook (Image credit: Apple)

It looks like Apple's hard at work on developing a set of over-ear premium headphones that might feature removable parts you can swap in and out. If this product is real (and let's hope it is), it means Apple's looking beyond the novel coronavirus pandemic. There's also a possible sustainability component here that's worth noting that could have long-term ramifications.

Yes, please

I'm probably not alone in admitting these stay-at-home orders aren't going down well in the Wolfe household. I'm anxious, often depressed, and sometimes angry at this on-going worldwide pandemic. And I understand my whining isn't at all justified.

Even under normal conditions, I always work from my home office, as I continue to do today just as millions around the globe are without a job thanks to this damn COVID-19. And this says nothing about the victims, families, and first responders on the front lines.

Regardless, I smiled broadly when word leaked that Apple was likely working on at least two different types of high-end headphones.

In some strange way, Apple working on another high-end product represents one of those (many) baby steps ahead that will signify that the world is moving beyond the pandemic and return to some sort of adjusted normal.

(Seeing new iPad Pro models released last month also brought me joy since it allowed the iMore team to think about something other than COVID-19 while covering the news.)

These headphones are almost certainly going to be expensive and push Apple's audio lineup even further into the premium pricing category. That's okay, however.

First, this is Apple we're talking about, and hefty prices are nothing new. Second, as the recent launch of the iPhone SE (2020) reaffirms, the company keeps plenty on its plate to appeal to more budget-conscious customers. Other recent rumors, for example, suggest less expensive AirPods could also get the green light once the worldwide health crisis is over.

Beyond this, there's the environmentally-friendly component the new headphones could provide.


With possible swappable parts, the new headphones could address at least two points in the company's long-range environmental sustainability plan.

As Apple notes in its most recent environmental report, it's committed to making products created with recycled and renewable materials. It also wants to cut down on the use of raw materials that require mining.

Imagine durable headphones made of raw and recycled materials that could get easily refreshed with swappable parts such as new cups to match a different use. Take this a step further and imagine being able to replace headbands and speaker components also, thereby making the headphones easily repairable too.

Looking ahead, these headphones will likely be the first of many Apple products in Cupertino's long pipeline that features more recycled and renewable materials. Hopefully, we'll hear more about these headphones soon.


What do you think? Do you want Apple to release headphones with replaceable parts? Even if they cost a lot more upfront? Let us know below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.