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August 03, 2019

It’s been quite a while for rumours being floating and much talk about Apple’s own over-ear headphones. We have been all ears to every news that came across. Let’s share what we know so far.

What We heard till date about its release?

Apple StudioPods or say Apple’s over-ear head phones first time were reported back in 2018 February by well-known KGI Securities analyst Ming- Chi kuo. Kuo in his research report which was published by MacRumors, stated about Apple’s highly anticipated headphones to be ‘’high-end over-ear headphones with all new design, as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality, shipments to begin in 4Q18F at earliest’’.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports from last year June says that Apple’s StudioPods would be different from the Beat’s line. Mark Gurman also revealed about the Apple’s initial plan to release its headphones by the end of 2018, which while facing development issues later shifted to early 2019.

Most recently as per this year’s January Bloomberg about Sonos reports, Apple StudioPods competing those of Bose and Sennheiser, could come up in the later half of this year.

Patent News

A patent report of January 2019 which simply is named ‘Headphones’ confirmed all the above reports speculations to be true. The ‘Headphones’ patent says ‘’A pair of headphones including an adjustable headphone band’’. The patent also states noise cancellation to a brief level.

Features we expect

Looking at all the reports, we are left with a few clues as to what Apple is upto for its headphones. As per Kuo, Apple is collaborating with Taipei based Primax and SZS. Primax is accomplished in making cameras for mobile phones, iPhone as well. It also is in making components for wireless speaker. SZS is possibly to use Metal Injection Molding, say MIM technology which will give SZS the benefit of becoming the main exclusive MIM part supplier.

Besides the assumptions, here is our own list of features that we expect from Apple’s over-ear headphones.

  1. Better Sound Quality- what we are sure is we expect a better sound quality than Apple’s AirPods for sure. There have always been a space for sound quality improvement in airPods. International Tech Editor of What Hi-Fi, Ketan Bharadia resonates with this thought and says. ‘’I’ve never rated the sound of the company’s in-ears but considering Apple’s engineering might and the sonic quality of their iPhones and the HomePod, there’s plenty of potential for over-ears to stir things up.’’
  2. Classic Design- Although Apple’s design aesthetics are to swear by, but in this case its quite necessary for a piece of headgear to look good enough to flaunt over the head. ‘Curved’ a German tech publication have even mocked his own illustration of what the headphones might be. He created it taking inspiration from Apple’s HomePod and Beats headphones as well. Portraying the headphones laying on an Apple’s charging mat, Curved even predicts headphones to be wireless.
  3. Noise cancellation and Sound isolation- The Apple’s high-end headphones should definitely be able to block substantial amount of environment noise physically. It is quite challenging for over-ear devices as they need to seal tightly in the ears in order to cut all the ambient noise. If Apple as rumoured is heading to compete with the best headphones available in the market, noise cancellation is another crucial aspect that needs to be fulfilled. Both areas isolation and cancellation of sound are really important for Apple’s over-ear headphones.
  4. Audio accuracy- If we look towards wireless over-ear headphones from Beat’s range, we know what to expect from Apple’s headphones. The Beats Studio 3 for instance provides Pure Adaptive Noise cancellation and Apple W1 chip as well.

To call Apple’s over-ear headphones as StudioPods, it demands a studio quality audio accuracy. The real audiophiles like Rodeschini says, ‘’Personally I like a comfortable pair of headphones that delivers a sound that is as close to the original as possible so I get to appreciate all the expertise of the mixer and get close as possible to the artists intention. If the headphone is adding any colour to the soundtrack, it would be like adding the same blend of spices to every dish you eat without the chef’s knowledge- not desirable in my opinion.’’ Now this is the area where Apple can perform and outplay the existing players like Beats Studio 3, which are not known for their audio quality and have left quite a scope for it.

Besides the above, we expect the headphones to come with H1 headphone chip (considering its improved connectivity, battery life and new Siri feature) same as built in the Airpods and the PowerBeats Pro. As far as price is concerned, Kuo confirms its price to be more than that of Airpods. For now, lets just wait for Apple to launch the much awaited StudioPods soon this year.

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