Apple StudioPods − All you need to know about the rumoured Apple over ear headphones

We’ve heard scuttlebutt for some time about the Apple StudioPods, but there’s been little concrete evidence so far. However, that could all be about to change, with reports suggesting the first Apple over ear headphones are about to launch.

Previous speculation suggested that Apple’s over-ear headphones could break cover at its March ‘Show Time’ event, but that never materialised. Instead the AirPods 2019 were launched, with the Beats PowerBeats Pro announced soon after.

But with WWDC 2019 about to start, rumours have intensified that Apple could announce a new pair of headphones. Here’s everything we know so far about the Apple over ear headphones.

Apple StudioPods − Design and features

In 2018, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that Apple was looking to release “its own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality”. Ming correctly predicted the new AirPods, so we take solace in saying he’s probably in the right area with these over-ear headphones.

Since then, they’ve been dubbed the Apple StudioPods, which mirrors the firm’s naming conventions for its audio products.

What would they look like and what features would they have? Right now, everything is a bit of a stab in the dark. Based on Apple’s previous efforts in the headphone market, we have a guide of sorts to the design route it could take with the Apple over ear headphones. German site Curved/Labs has had a go at imagining an Apple over ear, and the renders look like a combination of the AirPod and HomePod.

We definitely expect them in a white finish. Unlike the Beats brands, Apple doesn’t appear too interested in different colour options, settling in on a clean white finish for its AirPods.

If the StudioPods are real, they’re certain to feature Apple’s new H1 chip which enables faster connection to devices, Siri voice control and Bluetooth 5.

Related: What is Bluetooth 5?

Tech site Macworld makes note of active noise-cancellation and wireless charging. The former seems likely, considering its hypothetical rivals also have this feature. And Apple’s support of wireless charging with the 2019 AirPods would make sense and likely allow Apple to claim a higher price too.

Apple’s AirPods are renowned for their long lasting battery life, with the 2019 version having enough charge (via its charging case) for a day. We’d expect something similar from these Apple over-ears with most noise-cancelling/wireless headphones topping out at 30 hours. Could the StudioPods beat them? Considering the AirPods can go on for far much more than other true wireless earbuds, we wouldn’t put it past them.

What else? Touch controls are likely, as well as a Lightning connection. Apple ditched the 3.5mm jack from its iPhones in favour of a Lightning connector makes this very likely. Any compatibility issues would be resolved by including a Lightning Cable adapter.

Apple StudioPods − Sound quality

Apple’s AirPods haven’t put in a distinguished performance in terms of audio quality. We felt the 2019 AirPods were much the same in the audio department as the originals, with “overly bassy tracks feeling weak and messy” and complex instrumentation coming across like audio soup. The lack of noise isolation hampers audio performance too. Suffice to say that Apple would need to step it up in this regard.

An over-ear would naturally over better protection from external noises thanks to its sealed enclosure. Higher-end designs have often pursued an open-backed design we’d expect these Apple over-ears to be closed-backed.

Bigger drivers should also allow for a bigger and (hopefully) better sound. Would Apple take inspiration from Beats’ own headphones? That’s not out of the realms of possibility and while Beats has been known for its bass-heavy audio signature in the past, the PowerBeats Pro did take action to reduce that warm sound.

Whatever the case, the StudioPods would need to match the quality of Bowers & Wilkins PX, B&O’s BeoPlay H9i and the Sony WH-1000XM3 to stand a chance in that market. That’s no easy feat.

Related: Best wireless headphones

Apple StudioPods − Price

They certainly won’t be cheap. Apple has always commanded a higher price for its products and we expect the StudioPods to be no different.

Bloomberg reported in June 2018 that the Apple over-ears were set to compete with the likes of Bose and Sennheiser. That suggests a price range of around £350/$399, which would put it alongside the recently announced Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Could they be more expensive? B&O’s BeoPlay H9i has an RRP of £450, but B&O is a high-end luxury brand so however much these headphones end up costing, we wouldn’t expect them to be over £400 if they wanted to be competitive for price.

Apple StudioPods − Release date

Reports have pegged a release date of 2019. Some reports have suggested the first half of 2019, which would make June the last chance for that to be true.

The StudioPods were initially thought to be coming out in 2018, but due to unspecified developmental challenges, the headphones were thought to have been pushed back to this year.

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