However, reports suggest that Apple could redesign the headphones again before launch, or scrap the project altogether.

Apple working on noise-canceling over-ear headphones likely to launch by year-endImage: Anthony22 via Wikimedia Commons
Atom Tech Shorts Wednesday, March 07, 2018 - 10:31

Audio products appear to be the focus for Apple in its other products category. The company has generally enhanced the pace of activities on products like AirPods, Beats headphones, the Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPad accessories, which are categorized as Other Products and these have put together brought it a revenue of $5 billion in a quarter.

Among the audio products in this cluster, the AirPods ear phones is now receiving the attention since Apple is expected to launch a fresh over-the-ear pair which will also sport a noise-cancelling feature. As of now, the product could well be described as ‘work in progress’ and the likely launch could happen only towards the end of the year.

However, Apple may want to position the ear phones on par with the high-end rival products like Bose in terms of technology and price it high as well. Apple already has the Beats by Dre brand from its $#-billion acquisition of Beats in 2014. The work in progress comment is being made since there are changes being made to the design and more alterations may come through before the launch.

Observers point out that Apple is known to make changes even after products are released as it did with HomePods. Some of the other features the new Airpods are likely to come with water-resistance capability and the addition of a wireless chip that helps the users apply the ‘Hey Siri’ call to activate the voice assistant.

Apple has reported a 70% surge in the sales of these products in the audio category plus the Apple watch over the previous year and no wonder the company is going after these. Apple may, however, switch its suppliers for the AirPods and HomePods from the existing Inventec Corp. to Primax Electronics Ltd. and Shin Zu Shing Co.

Research has shown that the top 4 audio products (read earphones) brands, Beats, Sony, Sennheiser and Skullcandy are clocking total revenue of $20 billion.  

As mentioned, Apple will take a call on the pricing of the new set of earphones and the expectation, based on the HomePod example, is that the price will be kept at the higher end. Apple will have to take a look at the profitability angle as well while fixing the price.

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