March 5, 2018: Apple AirPods-tyle over-the-ear headphones rumored into include noise cancelation
Not much here that we didn't already see in the KGI report, below. If anything, take it as multiple sources now saying similar things about the potential for AirPods-style over-the-ear-headphones.
The latest plans call for headphones targeting the high-end of the market, replicating Apple's approach with the $349 HomePod speaker, released earlier this year. In addition to noise-canceling capabilities, Apple plans to include similar wireless pairing functionality to the AirPods, according to the people familiar with the product's development.
AirPods-style pairing is as close to a given as anything can be at this point. Noise cancelation is something a lot of over-the-air headphone users would be looking for in this kind of product.
February 25, 2018: Apple reportedly working on over-the-ear headphone
This comes from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has an established pattern of gaining information from Apple's suppliers and manufacturing partners.
Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs.
We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple's next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple's partners on this new product. Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier. The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider.
Having the teams that worked on AirPods and HomePod work on "StudioPods" (or "AirPods Pro" or "AirCans" or whatever Apple ends up calling the over-the-ear headphones...) makes the kind of sense that does. It would leverage existing hardware and software technologies and expertise and provide a more premium — aka higher average selling price (ASP) — product to continue the expansion of Apple's wearables category.
A next-generation W1 (W2 is already in Apple Watch Series 3 doing a slightly different job), would provide for the same easy pairing with everything from Apple Watch to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, and HomePod-style engineering could make for one of the best listening experiences in its eventual price range.
Beats, which already has over-the-ear studio headphones with the original W1 chip in them could, like AirPods, round-out the Apple-branded offering providing greater diversity and price point for customers — and Apple.
I wonder how long it'll be until a product like "StudioPods" (with cellular) could stream music directly, like Apple Watch, and truly become the next generation, invisible iPod?
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