Apple's High-End Over-Ear Headphones
Apple is rumored to be working on high-end over-ear headphones that could be called the "AirPods Studio," and which could be priced starting at $349.
We've been hearing rumors about these new headphones, which will be the first Apple-branded over-ear headphones Apple has released, since 2018, but rumors are picking up and it looks like we could see a launch in 2020.
AirPods Studio will join the AirPods lineup with the AirPods 2 and the AirPods Pro, and the new headphones will be distinct from Apple's existing Beats lineup, which features several over-ear headphones options.
Current rumors indicate the AirPods Studio will feature Active Noise Cancelling, equalizer settings controlled through an iOS or Mac device, and head and neck detection, similar to the ear detection in the AirPods.
Apple could be working on two designs, one that's a higher-end premium version and one that's fitness-focused and made from lighter weight materials. Both versions may feature magnetic ear cups and headband padding that's able to be swapped out for a customizable look, similar to Apple Watch bands.
We don't yet know just when the AirPods Studio headphones will be released, but Apple is rumored to be targeting fall 2020, and mass production is reportedly under way.
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The AirPods Studio will feature an all-new design, and while we don't know a lot about it, we do know some details shared by Bloomberg.
Apple is said to be working on two versions of the high-end over-ear headphones, including a premium version with leather-like fabrics and a fitness-focused model that uses lighter, breathable materials with small perforations for better airflow.
Prototypes of the headphones have been described as having a retro-like look with over-ear cups that swivel along with a headband connected with thin metal arms.
Apple is planning to attach the ear pads and the head padding to the headphone's frame magnetically, allowing users to swap different colors and variants in and out for customization purposes.
An icon representing the AirPods Studio was found in the code in a leaked version of iOS 14, but little detail can be gleaned from the imagery.
Active Noise Cancellation
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's over-ear headphones will feature Active Noise Cancellation, a high-end feature baked into the Beats Studio 3 headphones, Solo Pro headphones, and the AirPods Pro.
Active Noise Cancellation is designed to cut down on ambient noise so you can focus on what you're listening to. If it mimics ANC on the AirPods Pro, there will be a transparency mode that will enable noise cancelling features, but with an option to continue to hear what's going on around you.
Transparency Mode will also be available to allow users to hear what's going on around them.
Sound quality is expected to be better than the sound quality of the AirPods and AirPods Pro, but no specifics about sound have been rumored so far.
Head and Neck Detection
The AirPods and the AirPods Pro have an ear detection feature that stops the music when an AirPod is removed. AirPods Studio are said to have similar features that detect whether the headphones are on the head or the neck, playing content when the headphones are worn on the head.
When the headphones are moved down to the neck, the sensor will presumably pause the music that's playing.
AirPods Studio will have a sensor that's able to detect left and right ears for routing audio channels, which means there will be no right or wrong side for wearing the headphones.
Apple hasn't introduced equalizer controls for the AirPods or AirPods Pro, but equalizer options may be available for the AirPods Studio. Pairing the AirPods Studio with a Mac or iOS device will unlock custom equalizer settings with low, medium, and high frequency adjustments available.
Apple is said to be planning to sell the AirPods Studio for $349, which is the same pricing as the current Beats Studio in the Beats lineup.
Current rumors indicate the headphones will launch at some point in 2020, though a specific date has not yet been nailed down. Mass production on the headphones is scheduled to begin in mid-2020, which perhaps suggests a fall 2020 launch. An announcement could come as soon as WWDC, however, which kicks off on June 22.
Apple suppliers Goertek and Luxshare will reportedly assemble a portion of the headphones in Vietnam, beginning shipments to Apple in June or July.