Apple-made over-ear headphones have been on the rumour circuit for around two years now, and so far without any hint of when the new product might actually hit the shelves. But luckily for people on a quest to streamline their hardware to Apple-only, more info has just been released about the hotly-anticipated piece of audio kit.
At the moment, Apple's audio accessories are limited to the Beats brand and its in-ear AirPods but, according to recent reports, 2020 will be the year that Apple fans can take a bite out of the new range of over-ear headphones.
Will the new offerings join our pick of the best Apple headphones out there, or should you stick with your current headphone model of choice? So far, the widely used name for the headphones is the AirPods Studio, but this has not yet been confirmed. For ease, that's what we'll continue to call them until we're told otherwise. Here's all we know so far.
When will the AirPods Studio be released?
We should expect to see the AirPods Studio headphones in shops in the autumn – which is, of course, rapidly approaching. According to a Bloomberg report (opens in new tab), the headphones are an accessory that will be launched alongside the new iPhone 12 range (along with an edge-to-edge iPad Air, and a smaller sized Homepod).
So far, there have been delays but Bloomberg reports that Apple has now ordered its iPhone units from suppliers, meaning things are finally on the move. Watch this space for an official release date.
How much will they cost?
MacRumors reports (opens in new tab) that the new headphones will cost $349. Not easy on the wallet, but for diehard Apple fans, it'll no doubt be worth it. And the list of design features is pretty impressive.
AirPods Studio: Key design elements and features
Bloomberg reported (opens in new tab) that Apple has been working on at least two AirPods Studio models, both with a retro aesthetic and one in leather-like fabrics and another lighter, more breathable option for users into fitness. The oval shaped ear cups will swivel, and the headband will be connected by thin, metal arms, which will stem from the top of the ear cups, rather than the side.
Apparently, the headphones will be highly customisable, with a modular design. Some headphones are made with magnetic ear pads, allowing users to switch pads when they want to. But according to Bloomberg, the AirPods Studio's entire headband would be magnetic, enabling users to have greater control over the design.
One of the most innovative design points we've seen from the potential AirPod Studios comes from a patent filed by Apple recently, which shows the headphones as having the technical ability to fold flat (see below). This would do wonders for the convenience of having over-ear headphones, which are often a pain to transport due to their rigid, cumbersome design.
According to the patent, the headpiece portion of the headphones could be made up of a series of arches and springs, to allow them to fold down. The first time a company has tried to alter the mechanism of over-ear headphones, this could be a game-changer.
Tech-wise, the headphones are expected to have the super-fast H1 chip (much like the Beats headphones), support for 'Hey Siri', as well as auto pause and resume feedback as you take them off and on. Alongside Active Noise Cancellation, there will also be the Transparency Mode found in AirPods and Beats headphones – meaning you can also let outside noise in, if you need to know what's around you.
Spatial audio is also rumoured, which promises to provide a fully immersive experience, putting the sound exactly where it should be as you turn your head around. All of this surely qualifies the new models as some of the best iPad accessories around.
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