Apple to unveil high-end AirPods

EnlargeValentina Palladino

EnlargeValentina Palladino

Rather than utilizing Beats branding, these new headphones will feature the Apple name, and should be released in 2019. Apple is said to be looking into including a heart-rate monitor and other biometric sensors with future AirPods as well.

There are lots more details about Apple's audio strategy in Bloomberg. Bloomberg's report offers up nearly no information, saying only that a refresh is in the works and that Apple may move away from Inventec for production.

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The Bluetooth range is said to increase in the upcoming AirPods, with the price tag also expected to exceed that of the existing $159 earbuds. The original version of the earbuds faced a delay after it first debuted in 2016. Unfortunately, it might not be possible to give them Ingress Protection, but it means that they will be able to keep out water from light rain and perspiration. Apple might be working with Tymphany for the new over-the-ear headphones.

Bloomberg notes that none of these aforementioned deals are finalized, and production has not begun on any of these new audio products. They were originally scheduled to arrive by the end of 2018 but development challenges pushed back release.

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Apple is also working on a wireless charging case for the AirPods that would be compatible with its yet-to-be-released AirPower charging mat. The music-focused device was praised by many reviewers for its sound quality, but its market performance is apparently disappointing.

Apple expects to launch another version of the HomePod by next year, Bloomberg said.

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Little is said about the over-ear headphones other than that they would come from Apple, rather than Beats, and be created to "compete with pricey models from Bose Corp. and Sennheiser". They'll utilize Apple branding and be positioned as a higher-end alternative to the company's Beats line. Meanwhile, this year will see the launch of slightly updated AirPods with "Hey Siri" compatibility. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. What direction Apple will take with the HomePod 2 is yet to be determined.

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