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Apple rumored to launch high-end AirPods, over-ear headphones next year

Apple was reported earlier this year to be planning on expanding its audio lineup with over-ear headphones that were supposedly slated for launch by the end of 2018. The rumored product may indeed be expected to debut - not anytime this year, though, due to reported development delays - but in 2019 along with a plush version of AirPods and a fresh HomePod. That's according to a new report by Bloomberg, which cites sources privy to Apple's plans.

The report says these over-ear headphones will sit alongside Apple's Beats-branded products as a more expensive option for consumers. The headphones are also expected to carry the Apple branding, though there's no official name for the product yet since it remains unconfirmed. Apple is reportedly in talks with audio systems manufacturer Tymphany for the over-ear headphones, though both companies have yet to close any deal, according to the report.

On top of the over-ear headphones, Apple is also supposedly developing higher-end AirPods featuring noise-cancellation system, with the Cupertino giant reportedly considering Cirrus Logic to provide that capability for the next-generation earbuds. Additionally, the upcoming high-end AirPods will include a water resistance feature meant to protect the accessory from rain and sweat.

The Bluetooth range is said to increase in the upcoming AirPods, with the price tag also expected to exceed that of the existing $159 earbuds. On top of those features, the upcoming AirPods will also likely come with biometric sensors as part of Apple's broader effort to grow its health-related hardware products. The original version of the earbuds faced a delay after it first debuted in 2016.

Apple is also working on a new iteration of the HomePod smart speaker following a lackluster sales performance of the original version which was unveiled in June last year. The original HomePod was supposed to be released to consumers in December 2017 but was delayed until early this year.

For the deluxe AirPods and the new HomePod, Apple will reportedly work with Foxconn as part of an expanded alliance. That will most likely mean transitioning the production work for the upcoming models away from Inventec, which built the first HomePod and majority of the first-gen AirPods units.

Additionally, Apple is rumored to be working on a wireless charging case that works with the upcoming AirPower charger.

Source: Bloomberg

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