Apple reportedly planning 'higher-end' AirPods and new HomePod for 'early 2019'

Apple reportedly planning 'higher-end' AirPods and new HomePod for 'early 2019'

Higher-end AirPods and a new HomePod could arrive alongside a pair of over-ear headphones next year, according to Bloomberg sources.

The new Apple AirPods are likely to come with additional features, including active noise-cancellation and some form of water resistance, that will make the product a bit more premium and useful to consumers.

Apple is also working to increase the distance that AirPods work away from devices like the iPhone or iPad. Bloomberg described the device as a "higher-end alternative to the company's Beats line", but otherwise didn't give any new details on features that could be coming to the headphones.

The report cites people familiar with the matter, who said that Apple is exploring making the AirPods water resistant. While it was initially believed that Apple would start marketing all of its audio products under the Beats brand, it has turned out to be the opposite. They aren't a product upgrade but a shift into a new segment for Apple. Of course, we're still waiting for Apple to release a few products that were first unveiled in 2017, so there's no telling if Apple's release schedule will change.

The over-ear headphones are a different model. Apple said Other Products revenue was up 38% year-over-year in its second quarter, reaching almost $4 billion in total revenue for the period.

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The report from Sina doesn't mention when a cheaper HomePod would go on sale, but noted that Apple is discussing the plans with one of its suppliers, a Taiwanese chip manufacturer called MediaTek. Two years later, Apple bought headphone maker and streaming-music company Beats for $3 billion, its largest acquisition.

Unfortunately, the new and improved AirPods also mean that customers might have to pay more than the $159 price tag of the first-generation AirPods. Until now, it has only worked with Inventec and Luxshare Precision Industry Co.

Enlarge / Sales of Apple's HomePod speaker have reportedly fallen below expectations.

Apple is likely to continue to offer new versions of both 'Pods, according to the Bloomberg report.

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