We’ve heard rumours for some time about a pair of Apple over-ears dubbed StudioPods, but there’s not been much in the way of concrete evidence that they exist so far. However, the rumour mill is flexing its muscles once again, with reports emerging the Apple over-ears could launched in 2020.
The last time there was any speculation about Apple’s over-ears, reports suggested it could break cover at its ‘Show Time’ event all the way back in 2019. That never materialised and the AirPods (2019) were announced, followed up the Beats PowerBeats Pro.
Later in the year Apple dropped a surprise with the AirPods Por, a noise-cancelling true wireless in-ear that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Perhaps that success has buoyed Apple to continue on with its ‘development’, as it sounds as if a 2020 release could be in the offing.
Apple StudioPods − What would they look like?
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, and was’t wrong with mentioning that a higher-end version of the AirPods was coming to the market, so he’s cemented himself as a voice to be trusted.
Since then, they’ve been dubbed the Apple StudioPods, but who knows if that will be the name if they see the light of day
What would they look like and what features would they have? Right now, it’s all a stab in the dark. Based on Apple’s previous headphones, we have a guide of sorts to the design route it could take. German site Curved/Labs has had a go at imagining an Apple over ear, and the renders make it look like a marriage of the AirPods and HomePod.
We definitely expect them in a white finish. Apple hasn’t appeared at all interested with exploring different colour options, settling in on a clean white finish.
We’d expect them to feature the H1 chip, unless Apple is cooking up an even faster version. The H1 which enables faster connection to devices, Siri voice control and Bluetooth 5.0.
Tech site Macworld made note of active noise-cancellation and wireless charging. The former seems likely, considering its hypothetical rivals have this feature and the AirPods Pro showed that Apple’s execution worked. Apple’s support of wireless charging in the 2019 AirPods would make sense, but we’ve not seen any over-ear launch with wireless charging yet.
Apple’s AirPods are renowned for their fairly good battery life. Noise-cancelling headphones tend to top out at the 30 hours and that would be our expectation for the StudioPods.
What else? Touch controls are likely and perhaps a Lightning connection, though that is being disputed with the EU looking to enforced standardised charging across all devices.
Apple StudioPods − How would they sound?
The AirPods weren’t the most distinguished performers audio wise. The 2019 AirPods experienced “overly bassy tracks” that felt weak and messy. The lack of noise isolation hampers audio performance too. That all changed with the AirPods Pro, which were a step up in every regard – fit, comfort, noise isolation and most importantly, audio.
Over-ears offer better protection from external noises thanks to its sealed enclosure. A closed-backed design is more likely than a open-backed effort which would mirror all the other premium noise-cancellers
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, both the PowerBeats Pro and Solo Pro reduced the impact of warm sound.
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Apple StudioPods − How much would they cost?
They won’t be cheap. Apple commands a high price and we expect the ‘StudioPods’ to be no different.
Bloomberg reported in June 2018 that the Apple over-ears would compete with the likes of Bose and Sennheiser. That suggests a price range of around £350/$399, which puts it alongside the Bose NC 700 Headphones and Sennheiser Momentum Wireless.
Could they be more expensive? B&O’s BeoPlay H9i has an RRP of £450. If they wanted to be competitive, £350 would be the asking price, but the AirPods Pro showed Apple isn’t shy about being even more expensive.
Apple StudioPods − Release date
In his recent note to investors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pegged a release date of 2020. Despite the numerous delays that have seen it bounce all over the calendar, he still expects a premium Bluetooth headphone to go on sale later this year.
If they do, we’ll be there to see if they were worth the wait.