Apple may be looking to enhance its AirPods business with a high-end audio product, according to sources familiar with the situation. Specifically, the California company might be developing modular over-ear wireless headphones.
At least two variations are allegedly in the works, one of which is thought to be premium with leather-like fabrics. The other is purportedly a fitness-friendly version that makes use of more breathable materials.
Those who have seen prototypes of the new products claim that they have a “retro” look with oval-shaped ear cups, which swivel. The headband is connected by thin, metal arms, which stem from the top of the ear cups. The ear pads and headband padding allegedly attach to the frame of the headphones magnetically. The goal is to give the user an option to replace them when necessary.
According to the sources, Apple plans to make use of its existing wireless-pairing and noise-cancellation technology, which can be found in the AirPods Pro. These headphones have supposedly been in development since at least 2018, but have been postponed twice.
Apple may debut its modular headphones as early as this year, but complications surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic may impact its plans. People familiar with the matter claim that China’s Goertek Inc. is among the partners involved in assembling the headphones. However, it is still not operating at full capacity following the temporary disruption due to the pandemic in the country.
A spokesperson for Apple has declined to comment on the matter.
Apple first launched its AirPods earphones in 2016, which is when it also decided to eliminate the headphone jack from the iPhone. The AirPods Pro, which feature noise canceling capabilities, were released back in 2019.
Apple generated approximately $24.5 billion from accessories, including AirPods, in its last fiscal year.