Apple had originally meant to introduce the headphones by the end of 2018 but has faced development challenges. The first, coming later this year, will be more modest, featuring a new chip (possibly named the W2, to succeed the W1) and the ability to activate Siri without tapping the buds. The new AirPods, HomePod, and headphones could be released as early as 2019, though no specific timeline has yet been reported. It will have noise cancellation and water resistance, but the latter will mainly protect the device against rain and perspiration.
The company has also internally discussed adding biometric sensors to future AirPods, like a heart-rate monitor, to expand its health-related hardware offerings beyond the Apple Watch, another person said.
The earbuds will likely be a premium version that will cost more than the existing $159 pair.
As Apple historically holds an event in September to show off upgrades to its line of iPhones, it's possible Apple could use that event to give a preview of whatever plans it has for its AirPods and other music-listening products.
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Apple is also said to be working on a pair of over-the-ear headphones. Rumors around new and improved music devices and smart speakers have been swirling for months, and it would appear that Apple is now making moves to bring these highly anticipated, upgraded devices to life. For all the valid criticisms you could level at the HomePod, poor sound quality is certainly not one of them.
Instead of being branded Beats the new headphones will feature Apple branding and be a higher-end alternative to the company's Beats line.
Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
They're not ideal, but for a first generation product, they're pretty good.