Ahead of the expected launch of its over-the-ear headphones, dubbed AirPods Studio, and a possible new HomePod speaker, Apple has stopped selling headphones and wireless smart speakers made by rival firms such as Sonos, Bose and Logitech.
The rival manufacturers previously had their third-party products available on Apple’s Online Store. However, as Bloomberg reported Monday, they have now vanished. Employees at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores have also been removing the products from shelves.
As Bloomberg notes:
“As of Monday, the only headphones offered by Apple are its own AirPods and AirPods Pro, in addition to products from its Beats subsidiary. The only smart speakers on Apple’s website are its own HomePod and Beats Pill+ speaker. It sells one third-party product that could be considered a speaker, a Pioneer-made conference room speaker that plugs into an iPhone, but that product doesn’t compete with any Apple offerings.”
Looking at which third-party products Apple sells can provide certain clues about its areas of focus. For example, Apple stopped selling Fitbit around the time it announced Apple Watch in 2014. In background given to Bloomberg, Apple said that it regularly changes up its third-party offerings as customers’ requirements change. The smart speaker company Ultimate Ears was reportedly told by Apple that it will “no longer carry third-party speakers at retail from September” onwards.
Coming soon to an Apple Store near you?
AirPods Studio headphones and a smaller HomePod could debut this month. A smaller HomePod would allow Apple to compete with devices like the Amazon Echo. Both were possibilities for last month’s “Time Flies” media event. Since they weren’t announced then, Apple could show them off at its iPhone 12 event, rumored for October 13. Alongside the new iPhones, Apple could also introduce its much anticipated AirTags.
Are you excited about the possibility of AirPods Studio and a HomePod mini? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.