A new report Thursday by Bloomberg has once again corroborated the rumor that Apple is working on a pair of premium over-ear headphones that should release sometime later this year. This time around, however, Bloomberg adds a new tidbit: the ear pads and headband padding can be replaced easily as these parts attach to the frame magnetically.
Product prototypes reportedly feature oval-shaped ear cups along with a headband connected by thin, metal arms that protrude from the top of the ear cups, not the sides.
Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:
The ear pads and headband padding attach to the frame of the headphones magnetically so they can be replaced by the user. That approach is similar to some headphones from Master & Dynamic and Bowers & Wilkins, though those models only have magnetic ear pads.
Apple’s more modular design will allow users to customize their headphones like they do with the Apple Watch. The design may also mean the same set of headphones would be convertible from comfort to fitness use and back again, the people said.
It’s unclear whether both versions might release commercially. Bloomberg previously insisted the accessory would launch in 2019, but that obviously didn’t transpire so keep that in mind.
The report went on to note that Apple is working on two versions of the product.
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.
It’s also worth mentioning that everyone’s roadmap is in flux currently due to the coronavirus pandemic so Apple may choose to delay the rumored headphones all over again.
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. Apple aims to unveil them later this year, however complications during final development or from the Covid-19 pandemic could affect the timing and features again, sources added.
Gurman’s sources claim the headphones will use similar zero-configuration pairing and noise-cancellation technologies like what’s already in the AirPods Pro. Other rumored features include things like Siri voice control and “a limited set” of integrated touch controls.
These headphones will address the premium segment of the audio market.
According to the report, they will compete with high-end headphones from Bose, Sennheiser and Sony, which currently retail around $350. That means it’s safe to conclude that Apple’s product could be priced the same as those products or a bit higher.
Pictured top of post: Apple’s Beats Studio Wireless headphones