Apple’s AirPods did not exactly wow the world when they arrived — not least because, come on, pay the licensing fee and call them “AirBuds.” But slowly, the little wireless earbuds with the little charging bay have managed to get a following. Now, Apple, being Apple, the brand both wants to improve on them and to offer listeners a few more options, according to a new report.
Bloomberg notes that Apple, which you might remember already owns its own headphone company, is going to get big into the headphone game. AirPods are a part of it: Apple is making them water-resistant so they’re less vulnerable to sweat, and building in noise cancellation, although that won’t be arriving until 2019. It may also include a health sensor like a heartbeat monitor, to make them more useful for joggers.
It’s also working on some different sets of cans:
There are over-ear headphones coming from Apple, too. Those will compete with pricey models from Bose Corp. and Sennheiser. They will use Apple branding and be a higher-end alternative to the company’s Beats line. Apple originally intended to introduce the headphones by the end of 2018, but has faced development challenges, and is now targeting a launch as early as next year.
While this does fill in a few gaps in the Apple/Beats lineup of headphones, this is a roll of the dice for Apple. Bose and Sennheiser are respected names in part because they’ve spent decades studying acoustics and sound reproduction. It’s hard to get that much expertise in audio engineering in one place, even when you’ve got Apple’s giant pile of money, and Apple may be relying on their name and the fact that you have to use wireless headphones or that awful dongle with your iPhone. That may not be enough to let them compete with top-tier names like Bose.
It’ll be interesting to see what else Apple brings to the table here in terms of features, come 2019.