Apple’s Next Big Thing May Be High-End Headphones

March 5, 2018, 7:15 PM UTC

Apple hopes to build on the success of its AirPods earbuds by introducing high-end headphones, according to a new report.

The tech giant is working on new headphones that would fit over the ear and also come with noise-canceling technology that would eliminate ambient noise, Bloomberg is reporting, citing people who say they have knowledge of Apple’s plans. Apple could debut the headphones this year, but Bloomberg’s sources said that Apple has faced problems developing the headphones that could ultimately delay their release to 2019.

Apple acquired headphone maker Beats by Dre in 2014 for $3 billion, giving Apple one of the world’s most popular audio brands. Although Apple continues to operate Beats as a separate company, the iPhone maker in 2016 unveiled its AirPods earbuds, which have become big sellers at $159 thanks to their diminutive design and quality sound.

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Although Beats makes earbuds, the AirPods isn’t believed to have substantially eaten into the sales of any Beats headphones.

Apple selling high-end headphones, however, could be another story. Customers would have to make a choice between it and the rival headphones from Beats, which would likely shares some technology and certain design components.

What that means for Beats and the future of the brand is unknown. Regardless, there are some problems Apple must apparently work out.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s development woes have caused it to reconsider the headphones’ design. Apple could also abandon the idea and decide against releasing new headphones. If the headphones are released, they’d likely be wireless, so users wouldn’t need to plug them in to a phone or player. Apple hasn’t yet decided on a price, but considering that high-end alternatives can cost a few hundred dollars, its new headphones likely won’t be cheap.

If you’re in the market for high-end headphones now, though, you don’t need to wait. In September, Apple premiered the Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones ($349), which I found deliver outstanding sound. Check out my full review.

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