Apple Inc. Working On Own Over-Ear Headphones: Kuo

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Apple is working on updating its wireless AirPods along with coming up with branded high-end over-ear headphones, according to trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider). Kuo notes that both the gadgets are due to be unveiled later this year. It is not mentioned, but the headphones will likely be wireless as well.

According to Kuo, the iPhone maker wants the headphones to offer high-quality sound and be “convenient” like AirPods as well. Further, the headphones are expected to be higher priced compared to the AirPods, the analyst says.

Kuo said that the headphones would sport a new design, but did not reveal specifications. Possibly, the headphones would be similar to the over-ear headphones which Apple makes through the Beats subsidiary. Unlike earbuds, the new set of headphones would have Apple branding. The iPhone maker would undoubtedly give utmost priority to the audio quality to differentiate it from Beats and other similar headphones.

SZS, a metal injection molding (MIM) specialist and current Apple supplier, is reportedly part of the project, indicating the integration of metal enclosures. MIM technology can be integrated to a number of internal components used in the construction of such devices, notes Apple Insider.

According to Kuo, an addition of a new supplier suggests a massive surge in the earbuds production. The analyst expects a 100% to 200% jump in the component orders in fiscal 2018, while shipments of assembled devices is expected to rise 60% to 80%. For this year, Kuo expects AirPods shipments at 24 to 26 million units.

Bloomberg made a similar claim recently when it reported that the second-generation of AirPods would be launched this year, followed by a third-generation scheduled in 2019. The report claimed that the upgraded version of the AirPods would have improved wireless chips. The new chip would further improve the connection between the iPhone and headphones to make it more reliable. Currently, AirPods come fitted with a W1 chip, whereas the Apple Watch sports a W2.

Another feature that would reportedly make its way into the next-gen AirPods would be a hands-free connection to Siri. Currently, to activate the personal assistant, one needs to click on the AirPods. Although, there have not been any issues reported with the current set-up, just saying the magic phrase ‘Hey Siri’ would be a welcome change.

The third-generation AirPods will supposedly be water resistant. Though the device won’t be capable enough to survive under water, they would at least not get damaged if it starts raining or gets splashed, according to Bloomberg.

Apple AirPods, which were launched about two years back, are one of the most successful products of the company. An uptick in demand can be credited to the new iPhone owners, who migrated towards more wireless earbuds. Also, its ease of use and relatively affordable pricing is a major reason for its success.

Further, AirPods has contributed immensely to the overall numbers of Apple’s “other products” segment, which includes the earbuds, Beats devices, the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and other accessories. The segment reported more than $5 billion in revenue during the first-quarter of 2018, an increase of 36% year over year. Thus, it makes sense for Apple to make the AirPods better, both in terms of connectivity and design.

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