Apple is reportedly working on its own wireless earbuds called “AirPods.” The latest rumor follows numerous reports of Apple’s plan to get rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7.
Details about Apple’s plans for its AirPod headphones comes from “well-connected” analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities, a Chinese financial firm, according to Appleinsider.
Kuo, known for sprouting many Apple-related rumors, revealed the company’s upcoming strategy to position its AirPods as a high-end alternative to its already expensive line of Beats headphones.
Even more intriguing, the AirPods will allegedly ditch Bluetooth for Apple’s own wireless technology.
“Apple will likely have its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip and launch own-brand Bluetooth headphones targeting the high-end market, with Beats positioned in the midrange [sic] market,” said Kuo.
He gave no hints as to how much the AirPods will actually cost, but we can see that if he’s right, they’ll likely be pricey. The Beats Powerbeats 2 wireless earbuds, for example, cost $200 (£170, AU$260). If that’s the mid-tier, AirPods could come at an even steeper price.
According to Kuo, Apple’s “Bluetooth-like” tech could use even lower power wireless communications than Bluetooth, and could provide smart home and auto functionality. He did not specify how those features would work.
Today’s rumors follow a report from several months ago which revealed Apple’s trademark for the “AirPods” name. Additional whispers about the iPhone 7 losing its headphone jack signaled Apple’s push for wireless headphones.
Where rumors deviate are Apple’s use of its own proprietary wireless tech. Kuo claims Apple will have its own “Bluetooth-like” wireless chip, while Business Insider reports Apple will be making a new low-power Bluetooth chip to conserve battery life.
It’s unlikely the high-end AirPods will be bundled with the iPhone 7. Instead, expect to see a pair of Lightning-equipped EarPods bundled with the phone.
Apple’s alleged AirPods will be competing with more affordable wireless earbuds like the Bragi The Headphones, which retail for $149 (about £112, AU$196). Bragi’s flagship The Dash wireless earbuds go for $300 (£249, about AU$440).
The iPhone 7 announcement is tomorrow, so we won’t have to wait much longer to find out which rumors are true and which are false.
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