Love them or hate them, Apple’s AirPods have proven to be insanely popular. But now it looks like Apple may be extending its headphone game with a new over-ear design.
Following the beta release of iOS 14.3, 9to5Mac reported on two icons hidden in the update’s code. The icons seem to resemble light and dark versions of a high-end headphone design Apple is working on. According to the site, these icons are used to represent the new headphones throughout the operating system, for instances such as their battery and charging status.
Based on the two icons it looks like Apple may offer its new over-ear headphones in black as well as white. Or possibly an even larger range of colours. This would be a change from the traditional AirPods and EarPods which are only available in white.
Bloomberg reported the first rumours of Apple expanding into over-ear headphones earlier in the year, which are said to go by the name Apple AirPods Studio. The report describes the headphones as having interchangeable parts with retro oval-shaped ear cups that swivel. A headband connects them by thin metal arms. This description seems to largely match these leaked icons.
The new headphones are said to include many of the features of the current AirPods such as integration with Siri, wireless-pairing, and noise cancellation. It is hoped they will also include innovative features such as ear detection, which can pause music when the headphones are removed.
The headphones are said to be Apple's attempt to compete with high-end offerings from companies such as Sennheiser and Sony. Apple currently partners with Beats headphones but it's expected these new headphones will carry the Apple brand exclusively. They're also expected to go at a higher retail price, starting at around $US350 ($480).
Reports around Apple's over-ear headphones have been circling for a while, but after three separate product announcement events this year, they still haven't been confirmed. It's rumoured they may be officially revealed in early 2021. The production timeline is still unclear but it does look promising that the new Apple headphones are in active development considering they're being integrated into the iOS.