AirPods and high-end headphones shed light on what could be the year of Apple's 2019 ear. According to a new report, Apple has no fewer than three new audio products in hand – the third is likely to be an improvement over the dull HomePod
Along with confirming the rumor that this year is a new set of AirPods with a new chip and handsfree Siri Support is due, Mark Gurman reports that Apple is working on a trio of audio accessories for next year. A series of Airpods loudspeakers lead the way. There will also be a range of "studio-quality over-ear headphones" and a pair of even higher-priced AirPods.
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Gurman says the new wireless earphones will introduce noise reduction and water resistance, two qualities missing in first-generation buds. However, Gurman's sources also say that the new AirPods will not have an IP rating like the iPhone or the Apple Watch. Instead, they can better protect against rain and sweat. Apple's current AirPods are technically unable to withstand water, though tests have shown that they are impressively durable.
It should be noted that the new AirPod models will not be a replacement for the existing models, but an extension of the line with a higher-quality and more expensive "Pro" model.
Also under development is an Apple brand pair of over-the-ear headphones used in the space dominated by Bose and Sennheiser. Gurman says the new headphones will cost more than the Beats Studio3 cans sold for $ 350. By comparison, Bose Custom QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II, with support for Google Assistant and adjustable noise reduction, retails for $ 450.
This is not the first time we've heard a rumor from a high-end couple over Headphones under development in Cupertino. At the beginning of this year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that such a product was due before the end of 2018, but Gurman blamed "development challenges" on the delay.
The final product due in 2019 is a new version of the HomePod Smart Speaker, although details are sparse. The report does not say whether it would be a cheaper model or simply an update of the existing device. HomePod sales have had problems since their launch in February, and Apple failed to mention its speaker during the quarterly conference call or WWDC keynote.
The report notes that Apple may pounce more heavily on Foxconn to produce its new products. The first generation of AirPods were largely manufactured by Inventec, but Apple still had trouble keeping its stock up to more than a year after its launch.