Our hopes for seeing the AirPods Studio launch in 2020 appear to have been dashed. Previous rumours suggested it’d make an appearance at Apple’s November event, but that no longer appears to be the case.
In fact it looks like it’ll be another considerable delay for a pair of headphones that have been pushed back a number of times. What else do we know about Apple’s first pair of over-ears? Read on below.
When will AirPods Studio be released?
We first reported on these headphones back in 2018, and we could be waiting until later in 2020 or even 2021 for the release date.
Prior leaks had indicated the headphones were still in the manufacturing stage and couldn’t be unveiled at the October Apple event, with the first batch not expected until late October. Further details have emerged from Jon Prosser that suggest they’ll be headlining Apple’s March 2021 event, although a November announcement and December release have not been ruled out altogether.
According to Prosser there’s been a “major hiccup” in the production of the headphones that means a few key features have been abandoned. Prosser didn’t elaborate on what these key features could be.
How much will AirPods Studio cost?
In June 2018, Bloomberg reported the Apple over-ears would cost in the same ballpark as headphones from Bose, Sennheiser and Sony.
Jon Prosser tweeted that one version of the Studios will cost $599 (potentially £599), and the sports version, which is made out of ‘cheaper materials’ would be priced at £350/$350. That’s a lot more than we had expected.
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What will the AirPods Studio look like?
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in 2018 that Apple was releasing “its own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality”.
Pixelated icons from iOS 14 code suggest they’ll be black and white versions. Bloomberg reported the headphones will have some unique features with two versions in production – one with leather-like fabrics, and the other targeted at fitness wearers, which uses lighter, breathable materials. The luxury version the one shown in recent leaks, which you can see below.
It tallies up to the description we’ve been hearing about a retro look. The leaked images show the ear cups are attached to the headband via thin metal arms, though we can’t see the reported magnet connection clearly. The inclusion of magnets would make the headphones modular, with the rumour being the headbands can be swapped in and out. It will have a USB-C port (which we can just about see on the right earcup) and there will not be a headphone jack.
Other patents that have come to light indicate the AirPods Studio can be folded completely flat by incorporating arches and springs into the headband structure. We don’t see any buttons, hinting they’re reliant on gesture swipes instead. If there are no buttons, that makes us wonder if the headphones turn themselves on/off by being folded up, much like Beats Solo Pro.
What features will the AirPod over-ears have?
Macworld say the AirPods Studio will have ANC and wireless charging. The former is likely though we’re less sure about the latter. We expect battery life to be around 20 to 30 hours, and that they’ll feature the U1-chip that Apple is putting into a number of its latest products. Note Apple leaker, Jon Prosser, did say that some features had been cut, but did elaborate on what these features were.
Patently Apple uncovered a patent about gesture control. Gestures can be made in both the headphone’s upward orientation and down. From the diagrams it indicates the Studio can work as a neckband headphone, too.
That ties into a report from 9to5mac about proximity sensors. The sensors would know whether the headphones are on your head or neck, and can tell your left ear from your right. You could potentially put them on back-to-front and the headphones will figure out the correct orientation.
We expect it to have a USB-C Lightning connection in light of the EU parliament calling for standardised charging across all devices. 9to5mac say the AirPods Studio will be geared towards musicians, and pairing the Studio to an iOS or Mac device will unlock custom equaliser settings, “with low, medium, and high frequency adjustments available”.
Spatial Audio and Auto-switching are almost certain to be supported. The features were announced at WWDC 20 and arrived on the AirPods Pro in September. Spatial Audio works with soundtracks in 5.1, 7.1 and object-based audio in Dolby Atmos, while Auto-Switching means the headphones automatically switch when the user moves from one iOS device to another.
And that is all we know about the AirPods Studio headphones. Keep tuning into this page for the latest updates about the Apple’s first pair of over-ear headphones.