Apple has been rumored to work on its first pair of over-ear headphones, the AirPods Studio, for well over a year now. It is expected that the headphones will be announced later this month alongside the iPhone 12 lineup. Ahead of a potential announcement though, Apple has stopped selling third-party audio products from other brands like Bose, Ultimate Ears, Sonos, and others.
Apple sold third-party speakers and headphones from Bose and others on its online stores up until the end of September before removing their listing. Similarly, it has also removed all third-party speaker listing from its online store. Apple has also told its retail store employees to remove third-party audio products from its stores over the last few days. As of now, Apple only offers Beats-branded speakers and headphones apart from the HomePod and AirPods.
The move was confirmed by Bose, with Logitech’s Ultimate Ears confirming that Apple informed them it will “no longer carry third-party speakers at retail from September onwards.”
If anything, this is a clear sign that Apple is preparing to launch its own over-ear headphones and perhaps even the HomePod mini later this month. The company had previously stopped selling Fitbit and other fitness bands through its stores when it was due to launch the Apple Watch.
Leaks indicate the AirPods Studio will feature automatic left-right ear detection, head and neck detection, spatial audio support, and feature a very lightweight and comfortable design. As for the HomePod mini, there have not been many leaks surrounding it but it is expected to be a smaller and cheaper variant of the HomePod.[Via Bloomberg]