KGI: Apple Developing High-End Over-Ear Headphones, Launching Late 2018 at the Earliest

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KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note outlining his expectations for Apple's "acoustic accessories" pipeline, claiming the company is working on both updated AirPods and "own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones" with an "all-new design." The new over-ear headphones are said to debut in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.
Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs. We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple's next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple's partners on this new product. Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier. The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider.
Beats Studio3 Wireless and current AirPods

Kuo's prediction on upgraded AirPods follows a similar report just a few days ago from Bloomberg. Kuo says the new AirPods should launch in the second half of this year.
We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won't look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the charging case will adopt different processes for the external appearance and to meet thermal requirements from wireless charging, the hinge price will rise 60-80%.
Beyond this year's update for the AirPods, Bloomberg claimed this week that Apple is working on a subsequent AirPods update that would bring water resistance to the earphones, but that model wouldn't arrive until 2019 at the earliest.

Article Link: KGI: Apple Developing High-End Over-Ear Headphones, Launching Late 2018 at the Earliest
 
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Soccertess

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2005
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interesting to say the least.. I wonder what they will do with beats, and how they will position it against beat headphones. Any chance they will discontinue them? Or just never update them and let them die off like they do with products Tim doesn't want to focus on.... Mac Mini, Mac Pro (cheap shot I know),....

Before Apple bought beats, Beats was heavily advertising, especially with pro athletes. I don't see them doing that anymore since Apple's acquisition. I wonder if their sales are down or if the acquisition was just a bridge to enter a market, and remove a powerful competitor in Apple's quest for world dominance.
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
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I would be absolutely shocked if these could hold a candle to my audio technica ath m50x’s. And of course, we cant forget that they would presumably cost twice as much, too.
M50x really isn’t that great. It’s mid-fidelity at best.

If they provide truly high-end sound Apple’s offering will sound way better. I think they have the team established to create the best wireless headphone on the market.
 

SRLMJ23

Contributor
Jul 11, 2008
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So now Apple is either going to kill of Beats or fragment their brand even more by creating Apple branded headphones.

My guess, however, is they will keep beats as the "cheaper" option and the Apple branded over-ear headphones will be the high end, super expensive option.

I have Beats Studio 2's and AirPods, and am pretty damn happy with both of them. Time will tell what is going to happen...

:apple:
 
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Internet Enzyme

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2016
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M50x really isn’t that great. It’s mid-fidelity at best.

If they provide truly high-end sound Apple’s offering will sound way better. I think they have the team established to create the best wireless headphone on the market.
Rtings.com is a website that objectively tests frequency response, soundstage, imaging, and loads of other critical criteria that affect sound quality. Here’s there review of the m50x: https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/audio-technica/ath-m50x-professional-monitor . Now here’s the highest rated headphone on their site: https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/sennheiser/hd-800-s-reference-hd800s . One of those costs $1400 and the other costs $150. According to their review, the sennheisers have worse bass and mid reproduction, and more harmonic distortion than the m50x! Where they win is in soundstage, imaging, and treble. The m50x’s are not just an incredible value, they’re an incredible set of headphones outright.
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
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This makes sense Apple have released AirPods which are great (I love mine) and are very popular they have also released HomePod which also sounds great (again love mine use it daily) creating a set of over the ear headphones would fit nicely in that catagory.

After hearing the AirPods and HomePod Apple’s audio department has some real talent, I’m excited to see what they come up with for over the ear headphones, that’s if this rumour is indeed true o_O
 

mistasopz

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2006
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Apple can truly revolutionize this space, and I believe they have he potential to do so. If I manufactured headphones right now I would be very scared.
Knowing Apple, it'll probably cost $600, be wireless only, only work with Apple products, and have some kind of Siri invoking feature... so I don't think other manufacturers are shaking in their boots just yet.
 

wankey

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2005
562
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Apple, can you focus little bit more back on Macintosh?
Why would they? Mac's are incredibly complicated devices that have tons and tons of moving parts. Headphones are simple pieces that have huge markups and way more purchases.