Apple readying new headphones, AirPods X; plans to 'phase out Beats'

Apple readies new headphones, AirPods X; plans to ‘phase out Beats’


Is this the beginning of the end for the Beats brand?
Photo: Apple

Apple is readying new over-ear headphones and “AirPods X” for 2020 as it plans to slowly “phase out Beats,” a tipster claimed Tuesday.

We could see the company’s new over-ear headphones during the online-only Worldwide Developers Conference this June. However, the company’s sportier take on AirPods is expected to come in the fall. Currently, Apple is supposedly working to clear out Beats inventory.

Apple coughed up a cool $3 billion for Beats back in 2014. We knew at the time that Cupertino’s primary interest wasn’t hardware, though. Apple can do hardware on its own. The company’s focus was on the Beats Music streaming service.

Six years on, Beats remains an Apple brand — and it’s very much alive and kicking. Tipster Jon Prosser claims, however, that Apple is now taking steps to slowly give all Beats products the boot.

Apple plans new headphones for 2020

Prosser, founder of YouTube channel Front Page Tech, thinks Apple is preparing the brand-new over-ear headphones — code-named “B515” — to launch at WWDC 2020. The new cans, which have already been revealed by leaked iOS 14 code, supposedly will be similar to Beats 700 headphones. Prosser expects them to cost around $350.

Meanwhile, Prosser said the sportier AirPods — named “AirPods X,” and aimed at runners and those with active lifestyles — will cost around $200. Apple code-named these earbuds “B517.” They might look similar to Beats X, and may have been referred to as “AirPods Lite” in other reports. Apple supposedly aims for a September or October release for AirPods X.

Bye-bye, Beats?

It doesn’t shock us to hear Apple plans to release new headphones. What is a little surprising is that Prosser claims they are part of Apple’s “end goal” to “phase out Beats” and all Beats products.

Prosser notes that Apple has been selling Beats headphones to employees at a 40% discount “to try to clear out inventory.” The company supposedly doesn’t plan to eliminate the brand imminently, but that is a long-term aim.

“They’re building up the Apple/AirPods product line — THEN they will phase out Beats in favor of the finished lineup,” Prosser tweeted.

The large discount on Beats for Apple employees certainly helps corroborate those claims. But it seems strange that Apple would launch Powerbeats in March if clearing Beats inventory was the plan.

Prosser has been accurate with his Google leaks in the past, but has only recently started offering information on Apple. It’s too early to tell at this point if his sources are reliable.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.