Apple to announce premium wireless earbuds called 'AirPods': Report

Now that Apple is believed to have ditched the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, there's word Apple is planning premium, wireless headphones. New Beats products could fill in the mid-range.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
An "AirPods" mockup. (Image: Twitter/@EFFHNIE)

Apple is planning to release a set of wireless earbuds, expected to be called "AirPods", to compliment the removal of the headphone jack on the "iPhone 7," according to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

"Apple will likely have its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip and launch own-brand Bluetooth headphones targeting the high-end market, with Beats positioned in the midrange market," wrote Kuo in a research note obtained by AppleInsider.

It's not clear if the chip in the iPhone 7 to support the wireless earbuds will actually have Bluetooth specifications. Kuo theorizes Apple could move away from Bluetooth specifications because of its "higher requirements for power-saving, communication specs and potential rapid growth".

Instead of shipping with "AirPods", the iPhone 7 is likely to have Lightning-based EarPods, now that Apple is doing away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. Every model of the iPhone and iPod touch has shipped with a pair of headphones, making them almost iconic.

'iPhone 7' dummy units hint at design changes

The "AirPods" are believed to be sold as a premium alongside Apple-owned Beats, though it's not clear at what price. Recent rumors have pointed to Apple releasing a new line of Beats wireless headphones, likely in time for the iPhone 7's launch in the coming weeks.

In a separate research note over the weekend, Kuo said the iPhone 7 will come with water resistance, new color options, haptic-feedback TouchID, and more. As with most rumors, we encourage you to take them with caution. Luckily, Kuo has a great track record in sharing Apple rumors and can provide a good indication of what's to be announced.

ZDNet will be live from the Apple event on Wednesday, starting at 10 am PST, with the latest news and hands-on impressions of what is announced.

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