Apple Working on Wireless Earbuds With Custom Bluetooth Chip for Longer Battery Life

earpods_tableApple is working on wire-free earbuds built around a custom Bluetooth radio chip that will result in a longer battery life than is possible with traditional Bluetooth chips, reports Forbes.

Citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans, Forbes says Apple has spent the last several years working on a custom Bluetooth chip that's designed to solve the battery life problems that plague existing wireless earbuds.

The low-power Bluetooth chip comes from technology developed by Passif Semiconductor, a startup Apple purchased in 2013. But the project has hit performance snags. Apple originally planned to launch the Bluetooth gadget in 2015, but Bluetooth performance issues stalled the release, the source told FORBES. "The way it works at Apple is if it doesn't work 100%, it gets cut," the source said. Whether Apple's wireless earbuds arrive with a custom Bluetooth chip by Apple, or instead use a third-party supplier is still unknown.

This isn't the first time we've heard about Apple's work on wire-free earbuds. Back in January, a rumor unveiled Apple's earbud plans, pointing towards Bragi Dash-style wireless Bluetooth earbuds with a battery life of approximately four hours. According to that rumor, the earbuds will also charge through an included carrying case that serves as a rechargeable battery, further extending battery life.

bragidash
In recent years, Apple has delved into developing its own chips to reduce its reliance on third-party vendors, cut down on supply chain issues, and drive technology improvements. Apple has been developing its own ARM-based CPUs for mobile devices since 2010, so a move into other chip categories is unsurprising.

Rumors indicate Apple will remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, pushing consumers towards wireless headphones and Lightning-based headphones, so the timing is right for the release of new wireless earbuds. According to Forbes, the earbuds could potentially launch in September alongside the new iPhone 7, but the site's source was not able to confirm a launch date.

Based on trademark filings discovered by MacRumors, Apple may be planning to name its rumored wireless earbuds "AirPods."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
48 months ago
"The way it works at Apple is if it doesn't work 100%, it gets cut"

bwahahahahahahahaha. sure. maybe before Tim.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago
1. Don't let the Beats people anywhere near the development.
2. Please be sweat proof.
3. Don't let the Beats people anywhere near the development.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago

It will be shipped with the new iPhone. They will sell a wired (lightning) earbud as a backup

I think you've got it the other way around, they'll most likely ship next iPhone with the lightning wired earphones, and sell Airpods for extra $150+. (This maintains the highest profits for Timmy)
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago
Still sounds dreadful. I thought that maybe they'd invent something better than BT. Does this do anything to alleviate the delay all Bluetooth devices have? Will it not have the weird shuffle bugs I've experienced with car BT syncing? Do they expect to drastically improve on that amazingly terrible 4-hour battery life mentioned in the article?

Perhaps Apple will impress us with a good product this fall, but so far there are zero rumors pointing to it.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago
I hope Apple's also prepared to sell each channel separately. These will get lost.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
48 months ago

Still sounds dreadful. I thought that maybe they'd invent something better than BT. Does this do anything to alleviate the delay all Bluetooth devices have? Will it not have the weird shuffle bugs I've experienced with car BT syncing? Do they expect to drastically improve on that amazingly terrible 4-hour battery life mentioned in the article?

Perhaps Apple will impress us with a good product this fall, but so far there are zero rumors pointing to it.

Anything is better than a 3.5 jack.
Get rid of those damn things already. The sooner we get away from wired old technology the sooner improvements will come.
The past belongs in the past.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

2020 iPad Pro Teardown Provides Closer Look at LiDAR Scanner and Confirms Incremental Update

Saturday March 28, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
iFixit today shared a video teardown of the new iPad Pro, which Apple unveiled earlier this month. iFixit found that most of the internals of the 2020 iPad Pro are the same as the 2018 model, confirming that the device is a relatively incremental update. The most notable new feature seen inside the new iPad Pro was the LiDAR scanner, which measures the distance to surrounding objects up...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

U.S. Government Using Mobile Ad Location Data to Track Compliance With Curbs on Movement

Monday March 30, 2020 4:48 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
The U.S. government is using smartphone location data from the mobile ad industry to track people's movements amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Local governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received the anonymized data about people in areas of "geographic interest," with the aim being to create a portal of geolocation...