A pair of over-ear wireless AirPods headphones look to be the first Apple-branded 'phones of this kind, and could be coming pretty soon, based on a new leak.
The leak itself, spotted by 9to5Mac, is a pair of icons that appear in the developer version of iOS 14. They show two pairs of over-hear headphones, one in white, and the other in black, that look very much like icons that would be used to represent the specific products in various parts of iOS.
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The fact that there are two colors may indicate that Apple will offer its new headphones in both black and white versions. This would be a first since AirPods and AirPods Pro are only available in the classic Apple white color, but would be a smart move that could prove popular with customers who want a more subtle hue. And since Beats headphones, also owned by Apple, come in a variety of colors, there’s some precedent to Apple giving buyers some choice.
The AirPods Pro are a fantastic pair of true wireless headphones, with great noise cancelling and sound quality. Therefore, over-ear headphones with the same features and maybe some new tricks as well definitely has our interest piqued. This could be Apple’s attempt to muscle in on a market currently cornered by Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II headphones, and also by the Sony WH-1000XM3.
Ming-Chi Kuo, the famed Apple analyst and accurate predictor of the company’s movements, first mentioned Apple's rumored over-ear headphones in January. These ‘phones then got named as “AirPods X” in a leaked Target product listing, which also put their cost at $399.
Since the over-ear AirPods are appearing in iOS 14, they could debut around September with the iPhone 12, or at least after Apple’s WWDC conference, where it historically has debuted the latest version of its operating systems. Of course the whole coronavirus situation could spoil the plans Apple has made, but hopefully we’ll still see these headphones before the end of the year.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.