Apple insiders warn of design ‘challenges’ with high-end headphones

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Apple’s new headphones are guaranteed.
Photo: Apple

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have corroborated reports that the company is working on new over-the-ear headphones. The high-end cans are scheduled to launch later this year, but Apple is currently facing “challenges” in development that could lead to a delay.

When Apple decided the iPhone no longer required a headphone jack in September 2016, fans were forced to consider wireless options. Of course, Apple had its own solution up its sleeve, and it delivered AirPods three months later. They’ve been hugely successful ever since.

Thanks to easy pairing, impressive battery life, and decent audio, AirPods have enjoyed glowing reviews from fans and critics. They sell incredibly well, despite their hefty price tag. Now Apple has is working on headphones that could be even more outstanding — but they’re not guaranteed.

Apple plans high-end cans

“The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on noise-canceling, over-ear headphones that rival headsets from market leaders like Bose and even the company’s own Beats by Dre brand,” reports Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

The claims corroborate a previous note from reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also expects the “high-end” headphones, with an all-new design, to ship this year.

The headphones are expected to offer noise cancelling, alongside the wireless technology AirPods owners will already be familiar with. This will ensure simply connectivity and a stable connection. Apple could also use its experience in developing the HomePod to deliver even greater sound.

Design problems get in the way

Bloomberg warns, however, that Apple is facing development challenges that could delay the release of its cans. The company is said to have been working on the headphones “on and off” over the past year, testing multiple different designs during the time.

The sources say it could redesign them again before they make their debut — or scrap the project altogether.

It seems unlikely Apple would ditch the project, given how successful its AirPods have been so far. However, the company is rumored to be working on upgraded AirPods with “Hey Siri support and a new wireless chip that will ensure demand remains strong in late 2018.

Next year, we could see another AirPods revision that adds “Hey Siri” support. Apple also continues to offer the entire Beats lineup, which could suffer if it launches its own brand of over-ear headphones.