KGI: Apple’s wireless AirPods will be high-end, use a bespoke low-power Bluetooth chip

By , Sep 6, 2016

Apple EarPods (promo video, 3D ear scan)

Apple’s wireless headphones, likely to be called “AirPods”, will take advantage of an in-house designed Bluetooth chip and be marketed as a high-end alternative to the Beats brand, which itself will be positioned in the mid-range market, according to a note by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In his report to clients, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, Kuo writes that Apple’s custom-designed chip improves Bluetooth reliability, sound quality and battery performance for longer battery life versus an off-the-shelf chip.

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

We believe Apple will position Beats in the midrange market once it launches Apple’s own-brand Bluetooth headphones, in order to maximize profit with a dual-brand strategy. We also believe Apple will have its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip, given its higher requirements for power-saving, communication specs and potential rapid growth of Bluetooth headphone shipments. Cheng-Uei and Inventec are the likely choices for assembly service.

Does that mean that the Beats lineup will be discounted to cater to the mid-range of the market? If not, will the AirPods come with a hefty price tag? We’ll find out tomorrow.

Forbes first reported in August that Apple was building a set of wireless earbuds from scratch based on its custom low-power Bluetooth chip built on the technology from Passif Semiconductor, a startup the iPhone maker bought in 2013.

9to5Mac said in January 2016 that Apple was working on a new wireless earphones product. The earphones would apparently fit inside a user’s ear, come with a charging case and be marketed under the new “AirPods” moniker.

They should resemble Bragi’s wireless in-ear headphones, the Dash (pictured below).

Bragi Dash image 003

The iPhone 7, which will be unveiled tomorrow, should remove the 3.5mm headphone jack and provide a Lightning-to-3.55mm adapter in the box to let customers use their legacy headsets without needing to spend extra money on a third-party dongle.

The Cupertino firm should also unveil new Beats hardware at tomorrow’s event.

Source: MacRumors

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  • askep3

    Smh they better discount the beats cuz they are not midrange right now lol

    • Rolf Bause

      They’re not particularly high end in sound either, so it would make sense 😉

    • Alberto Espinal

      Apple should get rid of Beats engineers and hire top ones to improve their quality and sound because beats are far from being quality, I once bought the Beats wireless and I returned them the next day, what a horrible experience, they spent all those billions just to keep the same quality, SMH!

  • n0ahcruz3

    Interesting.. Although hoping the design would be radical. Don’t wanna look like im wearing a hearing aid lol. Then again i’ll skip this year and wait for the overall redesign next year.

  • Y2J

    As long as they stay in when I’m running/lifting/ect because I don’t wanna be picking them up off the ground constantly. That’d get real gross real fast.

  • pnh

    I don’t care how “high end” Apple wants to say they are (or charge accordingly), they just better fit a lot better than the current EarPods they package with their phones. Very few people use those because it would be less painful to stick a knitting needle in your eardrum.

  • anonymous

    They better not hurt like the Regular headphones and shit

  • Dao Sasone

    I hope memory foam is used to produce this

  • Sleetui

    If Apple uses crappy audio drivers and speakers with no regard for actually “good” sound quality it’ll be a waste of money and time. Then again, Apple isn’t a company known for caring about high end audio quality. Perhaps battery life will be “decent”.

  • Mallouk Malek

    The idea of having a battery in my ear doesn’t seams to be my liking.
    I do use wireless earpiece but usually the battery comes on the back of the neck not inside my ears.