The AirPods 3, a second-generation version of the premium AirPods Pro and a pair of over-ear Apple headphones are all launching within the next year and half, according to a top analyst.
In a note to investors reported by 9to5Mac, Ming-Chi Kuo detailed the imminent expansion of Apple's AirPods brand. Between now and the end of 2021, Kuo expects the company to debut 3 different wireless audio products. We should expect to see Apple's over-ear headphones first, followed by next-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro a few months later.
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If Kuo is correct, Apple's first pair of over-ear cans will enter production over the summer. While this timeframe lines up with the probable iPhone 12 fall keynote, it contradicts a previous leak from Jon Prosser, who tweeted earlier this month that 'Apple Over-Ear Headphones (opens in new tab)' could be on the slate for WWDC 2020.
You ready for this? 👀Apple Over-Ear HeadphonesCodename: B515(Think Beats 700)$350Aimed for WWDCAirPods XCodename: B517For sports/running(think Beats X)~$200Aimed for Sept/Oct☝️ Probably what DigiTimes thought was “AirsPods Pro Lite”End goal: phase out Beats 🤫April 7, 2020
Apple's new over-ear headphones will reportedly feature swappable pads and be offered in two different base models. According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the more elevated pair of the Apple headphones will be crafted from "leather-like fabrics," while the sportier pair should feature more "breathable materials."
By the sounds of it, these cans are aiming to dethrone the Bose 700 for the title of best headphones.
AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 are also in the works, though we likely won't see them until next year. Kuo says the third-generation AirPods will go into production sometime in the "first half of 2021," while AirPods Pro 2 could enter production as soon as late 2021.
The revelation of AirPods Pro 2 is just the latest device name to join the swarm of leaks and rumors regarding Apple's growing audio division. Along with the Pro 2, AirPods 3 and Apple Over-Ear Headphones, we've learned about headphones called the AirPods Pro Lite and AirPods X. Pretty confusing, we know.
There's a high chance that two or more these titles belong to the same products. Kuo, who has long been a reputable source for impending Apple launches, is doubtful of an all-new, AirPods-style device coming soon.
The analyst even said something like the AirPods Pro Lite (a supposed sportier, wired version of AirPods) would join the Beats lineup before the AirPods one. This also conflicts with Prosser's theory that Apple has plans to phase out Beats by Dre branding, but Apple has since denied that rumor.