Apple planning BeatsX-like AirPods X, $350 premium Bose headphones rival

Apple planning BeatsX-like AirPods X, $350 premium Bose headphones rival
The AirPods and AirPods Pro are two of the best-selling pairs of wireless earphones in the world and Apple is looking to further expand its popular lineup. Now, thanks to Jon Prosser, we have details about what exactly Apple is planning.

Apple AirPods X for running and other outdoor activities

There have been rumors floating around recently about the so-called AirPods Pro Lite. As it turns out, Apple is indeed working on a third pair of AirPods codenamed B517, but they aren’t a cheaper version of the existing AirPods Pro.

Instead, Apple is understood to be creating a BeatsX-like product for customers looking to use wireless earphones while running or doing other outdoor activities. These will presumably retain the silicone tip design of the AirPods Pro to offer a decent level of isolation from wind, hence the AirPods Pro Lite rumors. 

But to ensure buyers don’t have to worry about losing an earbud while running, Apple is expected to add a cord between the two earbuds. The latter means users may be able to control the new AirPods with some buttons positioned along the cord too.

These new AirPods are reportedly going to be marketed as AirPods X when they arrive later this year. Apple is said to have them scheduled for September or October, which means an unveiling alongside the iPhone 12 series is extremely likely.

A release should take place shortly after the unveiling and Prosser claims they will be priced around $200. That would position AirPods X between the $159 AirPods and $249 AirPods Pro.

Premium over-ear headphones to take on Bose

Apple has been working on a pair of high-end over-ear Bluetooth headphones for at least two years. These were originally scheduled for a debut in late 2018 but internal delays pushed them back until 2019.

Even more schedule modifications have reportedly delayed the headphones until WWDC, although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means this announcement timeline could force Apple to push them back again.

If everything goes to plan, the new Apple-branded headphones, which are codenamed B515, should hit shelves shortly after the unveiling for $350. 

Prosser says Apple is hoping to position the yet-to-be-named Bluetooth headphones as competitors to the Bose 700 product. If true, that means customers can expect noise cancellation and Siri support as standard.

There’s no word just yet on what other features Apple may have planned for the over-ear headphones, but with less than two months to go until their debut, it shouldn’t be too long before further details start appearing.

Here’s what the new AirPods lineup will look like

If there are no further delays, by the end of 2020 Apple should have four different AirPods products on shelves across the globe covering a wide range of price points. Here’s what that could look like:

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  • Apple AirPods – $159
  • Apple AirPods with Charging Case – $199
  • Apple AirPods X – $199
  • Apple AirPods Pro – $249
  • Apple Over Ear Headphones – $349

As mentioned in a separate story, the expansion of the AirPods brand is all part of Apple's long-term strategy to replace the popular Beats brand. The latter could be discontinued as early as next year and Apple already seems to be in the process of reducing its Beats inventory by offering discounts to both customers and employees.

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