Apple's AirPods Studio headphones seem ready to debut soon, if a recent retail move on the company's part is any indication. Bose and Sonos are among a handful of third-party audio brands whose products have been pulled from Apple's site in recent weeks.
According to Bloomberg, employees working in physical Apple stores were also advised to take headphones and speakers from rival brands off shelves. This instruction comes amid rumors of a pair of premium over-ear AirPods and a new HomePod smart speaker approaching launch.
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Although Apple could have several different motivations for ending its sales of Bose, Sonos and Logitech's Ultimate Ears devices, several leaks have pointed to an upcoming release of in-brand headphones (allegedly called AirPods Studio).
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who provides this retail report, and Front Page Tech's Jon Prosser have separately shared details about Apple headphones. From Gurman we've heard insight about the AirPods Studio form factor and features, while Prosser has provided shipping updates and an impressive render.
It's believed these retro-looking cans look to take on the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 for the best headphones title with noise-cancelling, automatic ear detection, swappable ear cups and the H1 chip that makes pairing AirPods to iPhones so effortless.
According to Prosser, the AirPods Studio will cost $349 and are nearly ready to ship.
Makes sense. The first batch of AirPods Studio mass production ends this month. Announcement imminent. https://t.co/UvRW1kCNSaOctober 6, 2020
HomePod Mini incoming?
Bloomberg points out that Apple only sold the Sonos One SL, a non-smart version of the Sonos One, one of the best smart speakers we've ever tested. A rumored new HomePod would likely feature Siri voice support, meaning the One SL wouldn't be a true rival.
According to Bloomberg, Apple "has also been working on a smaller version of its HomePod smart speaker." This could be the HomePod 2 or HomePod Mini, a more compact version of the HomePod. We don't know much else about this smart speaker, although it sounds like it could be alternative to the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini.
We could learn more about the HomePod Mini and AirPods Studio at Apple's next keynote, which will star the iPhone 12. It's believed the event will take place next week on October 13, although official invites have not been sent.