Apple could release new high-end headphones this year

Apple to Take on Bose and Sony's Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones This Year [Report]

Bloomberg reiterates earlier reports, suggesting that Apple is working on noise-canceling over-ear headphones that will rival similar products from the likes of Bose and even its own Beats by Dre brand. It's possible Apple will redesign the headphones again before launch, or scrap the project altogether, they warned, asking not to be identified discussing private development work.

There are plans to release the headphones as early as the end of this year, though challenges with development could delay the release, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. This is normal Apple behavior, so it's not really surprising to hear they'll be expensive. Although it hasn't released sales data, it seems that AirPods have sold well: They're included in the bucket of accessories Apple sells, which it labels as "Other Products" on its earnings reports, which has only increased in recent quarters.

Apple to Take on Bose and Sony's Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones This Year [Report]

The report suggests Apple will repeat its strategy with the HomePod in terms of its pricing and target market, with the new headphones from the company priced to match similar high-end audio gadgets from Bose and even the company's own Beats line. A new wireless chip is said to enable "Hey Siri" voice activation on the next generation AirPods.

Keep in mind that Apple's HomePod retails for $349, but for the company itself, it costs $216 to make, resulting in smaller margins. Within that category, wearable product sales, which include the Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, surged 70 percent a year ago, Apple said on a recent earnings call. In the first seven months of 2017, the wireless headphone market sales increased by 22 percent compared to a year ago and Apple AirPods accounted for 85 percent of all wireless headphone dollar sales in the United States, according to research firm NPD Group. There's been no indication yet on when, if ever, Apple would release these headphones. Given their over-the-ear design, they will likely sound superior to the AirPods as well.

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