Rumours suggest Apple has been working on a pair of over-ear wireless headphones for some time.
Now, more details about the new headphones have leaked. According to Bloomberg’s reliable Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Apple has at least two variants of the upcoming headphones, which could include interchangeable parts.
The two headphone models include a premium version with leather-like fabrics, Bloomberg reports. The second model would have a fitness focus and use lighter, breathable materials. Both headphones would supplement Apple’s existing AirPods line and use similar wireless-pairing and noise-cancellation tech as the AirPods Pro. It’s worth noting, however, that a software update severely reduced the noise cancellation capabilities of the AirPods Pro and Apple has yet to issue a fix.
People familiar with the headphones told Bloomberg that prototypes of the wireless headphones feature a retro look. The headphones have oval-shaped ear cups that swivel, as well as a headband connected by thin, metal arms. The arms reportedly attach to the top of the ear cups rather than the sides.
The people asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.
Further, users would be able to replace the ear pads and headband padding, which attach to the headphones magnetically. Headphones from companies like Master & Dynamic already do this, but most only allow users to swap the earpads. The modular design would allow users to customize their headphones like they would an Apple Watch. Additionally, it could allow users to change the style of the headphones between comfort and fitness depending on what they want to use them for.
Finally, the headphones will include Siri for voice control and a limited set of integrated touch controls.
Apple could reveal the headphones later this year, but complications during final development or from the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the announcement. Further, Bloomberg says China-based Goertek is among Apple’s assembly partners for making the headphones. However, Goertek isn’t fully recovered from disruption caused by the pandemic.
Accessories have become a significant money-maker for Apple as people hold onto their iPhones for longer and avoid upgrading. According to Bloomberg, Apple generated $24.5 billion USD (roughly $34.5 billion CAD) from accessories, which include AirPods, Beats and Apple Watch. That’s almost as much as the company made from Mac and about $3 billion more than the iPad.