Apple acquired Beats, a company that has been known for its line of headphones, many years ago now. But the results of that decision are still being felt.
The Beats-brand still exists, of course, but the acquisition itself made it possible for Apple to build its own-branded headphones, too. Including the truly wireless headphones, the AirPods. And now, based on a new analyst’s note from KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, a different style of headphones may be on the way from Apple.
The analyst states that Apple has been hard at work on a new pair of over-ear headphones, and that they could launch before the end of 2018. Kuo states specifically that these new accessories will be “own-brand, high-end over-head headphones”.
“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.”
Apple is aiming to make these over-ear headphones just as convenient as AirPods, and they will be priced higher than Apple’s truly wireless options.
Kuo also throws in information about Apple’s plans for an upgrade to the AirPod lineup. The headphones themselves won’t look different, but there should be improvements to the wireless charging case, and a better wireless chip inside as well:
“We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won’t look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the charging case will adopt different processes for the external appearance and to meet thermal requirements from wireless charging, the hinge price will rise 60-80%”
Apple’s decision to take some extra time to upgrade the AirPods will probably pay off. It has already proven to be a popular accessory for the company. It always felt like a matter of time before more own-branded headphones made their way down the pipe.
Will you pick up some Apple over-ear premium headphones, depending on price?