Customizable over-ear Apple headphones coming soon with swappable parts

Customizable over-ear Apple headphones coming soon with swappable parts
After a successful foray into the wireless earphones market, Apple is now looking to enter the premium over-ear headphones segment. The move could happen as soon as this summer and today Bloomberg has shed some light on what exactly the company has planned.

Noise cancellation and Siri voice controls


People familiar with the matter say Apple is looking to compete directly with high-end offerings from rival brands such as Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser. To do so, the company is working on an adapted version of the noise cancellation technology found inside AirPods Pro.

Voice controls through the Siri virtual assistant in addition to a limited set of integrated touch controls are to be expected as well. These two features combined with the wireless-pairing tech Apple has used before should help the earphones stand out on paper.

Of course, the Silicon Valley-based giant is hoping to stand out in the design department too. Prototypes of the headphones reportedly have a so-called “retro look” which consists of oval-shaped ear cups that swivel and a headband connected by thin, metal arms.

The yet-to-be-named over-ear headphones could, therefore, resemble the Panasonic RP-HTX90N-W Bluetooth headphones pictured above. Apple is planning metal arms that stem from the top of the ear cups rather than the sides, though.

Customize the headphones like an Apple Watch


To further differentiate its product from the crowd, Apple has incorporated some very important customization options with the help of magnets. The headband and ear pads connect magnetically to the frame and can be swapped out by users.

Apple is likely planning an extensive range of headbands and ear pads in different colors, and possibly even materials, that will be available at launch and give buyers the opportunity to customize their earphones before and after purchase.

This customization process would resemble that of the Apple Watch. If history is anything to go by, Apple may release new headbands and ear pads every few months to coincide with the start of a new season.

The Tim Cook-led company is understood to be working on at least two versions of the over-ear headphones. These include a fitness-focused model that uses lighter, more breathable materials with small perforations and a premium model with leather-like fabrics.

People familiar with the matter said the customization options mentioned above mean buyers may be able to turn their premium headphones into the fitness model and vice versa. However, this remains unconfirmed.

Apple over-ear headphones announcement and price


Apple has been working on a pair of over-ear headphones since at least 2018 yet their launch has been postponed at least twice, according to sources. A specific launch timeline beyond “this year” was not provided today but previous reports have been more concrete.

Tipster Jon Prosser, who correctly predicted the time and date of the iPhone SE unveiling in addition to several other details, has heard Apple is planning an introduction at the online WWDC 2020 press event in early June. 

However, as Bloomberg points out today, the company could further delay the product if there are more development complications or if the COVID-19 pandemic impedes final testing on the audio product.

Regardless of when Apple chooses to launch the headphones, pricing is expected to start at $350. That presumably means the premium version will be available at a higher price point.

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