A new report on Monday from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Debby Wu takes a look at Apple’s audio plans in 2019, which he says will include the launch of “higher-end” third-generation AirPods, a new HomePod, and Apple-branded over-the ear headphones.
Apple Inc. is about to pump up the volume on its audio-device strategy, planning higher-end AirPods, a new HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones for as early as next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple’s new AirPods were previously reported to be bringing a new form of noise cancellation and water resistance. Gurman and Wu say Apple is also working on increasing the range AirPods can work when away from an iPhone or iPad.
The third-gen AirPods, which will debut after a second-generation update for the earpods this fall, are expected to be priced higher than the current model’s $150 suggest retail price. This indicates Apple will be “segmenting” the AirPods lineup, much like it does with its iPhone lineup.
The Bloomberg report also indicates Apple is targeting a 2019 launch frame for its over-the-ear headphones. The report describes the headphones as a “higher-end alternative to the company’s Beats line,” but doesn’t share any new details about features.
Last but not least, the report mentions a second-generation HomePod smart speaker, which could debut as early as next year. The new speaker could be manufactured by a company other than current manufacturer Inventec. The report’s sources indicate assembly could be moved to Foxconn, as Apple is looking to expand its relationship with that firm, moving away from Inventec, who has assembled Apple’s AirPods and the HomePod.