Apple is reportedly working on high-end, over-the-ear headphones


Apple is said to be readying this new product launch for the end of the year, although, supposed development issues could be a factor in an otherwise tentative release date. Within that category, wearable product sales, which include the Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, surged 70 percent past year, Apple said on a recent earnings call.

Apple has not released AirPods' exact sales numbers; the product has been lumped in with Apple Watch and other products in the "Other Sales" category.

On the other hand, Apple did recently bet big on audio by launching the HomePod, a smart speaker with a hefty price tag that focuses on audio quality. There is also the possibility that Apple will push back the release even further or scrap the project altogether. Apple acquired Beats three years ago for $3.2 billion-no small sum, obviously. However, the device is reportedly going to include an active noise-cancelling feature, as well as the same seamless connective capabilities of their Airpods. Whatever the company is cooking up in the headphone space will likely have a premium look to it, especially with Apple targeting audiophile-grade performance. In particular, the company announced some Beats-branded headphones with Apple's W1 wireless chip.

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A pair of wireless headphones, to rival those produced by Bose, Sennheiser, and Beats itself, seems like a logical step for Apple. The HomePod is priced more than $100 higher than its main voice-activated competition from Sonos, and $200 more than an Amazon Echo, but $50 less than a competing Google Home Max.

Apple's cost for each $349 HomePod is $216, resulting in thinner profit margins than typical Apple hardware products, according to TechInsights. Those headphones should sound better than tiny AirPods, but they should also be more expensive - AirPods now cost $159. AirPods have been tricky to assemble and use unusual design tricks, likely making them expensive to produce.