Apple does not plan to announce new Beats headphones at its Gather Round iPhone launch on September 12, according to reports. This means the entirety of 2018 could pass without any new products from arguably the world’s most iconic headphone brand.
A source speaking to The Verge says there’s no evidence Apple plans to unveil new Powerbeats, BeatsX or Beats Solo products in the immediate future. Instead, Apple may choose to focus on a new pair of the truly wireless AirPods 2 earphones during Wednesday’s keynote address.
Given Apple paid around $3 billion to acquire the headphone giant, it has hardly been fluent in updating the products. The last major launch was the BeatsX neckband-based Bluetooth earphones back in 2016, while other lines have simply received incremental updates.
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Other products like the Beats Pill speakers have been completely ignored in favour of Apple’s own HomePod, which has struggled to gain traction in the same way AirPods have.
While the company owns Beats outright, it appears to be competing with the brand in-house. AirPods are pushed to the hilt by Apple in its marketing materials, while rumours have suggested the company is developing a pair of over-ear cans to rival the Beats Solo offering.
All this is leading observers to question Apple’s long-term plans for the Beats brand. While it already owns a large share of the market, Apple has come to use Beats products as a carrot to tempt users into buying new Macs and iPads in the back-to-school season. It’s also important to remember that the Apple Music streaming service also derives from the Beats Music service Apple acquired as part of the purchase from Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, so the purchase has been far from a write-off.
Should Apple choose to launch a second-gen AirPods, they’re likely to feature the wireless charging case, hand-free Siri and improved water resistance. We’re less than 24 hours from finding out for sure.
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