According to a new report published this morning, Apple is about to pump up the volume on its audio-device strategy, planning higher-end AirPods, a new HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones for as early as next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Cupertino, California-based company is working on new AirPods with noise-cancellation and water resistance, the people said. Apple is trying to increase the range that AirPods can work away from an iPhone or iPad, one of the people said. You won't be swimming in them though: The water resistance is mainly to protect against rain and perspiration, the people said.
The company has also internally discussed adding biometric sensors to future AirPods, like a heart-rate monitor, to expand its health-related hardware offerings beyond the Apple Watch, another person said. Apple was granted a patent for this last March.
Slated for 2019, the earbuds will likely cost more than the existing $159 pair, and that could push Apple to segment the product line like it does with iPhones.
There are over-ear headphones coming from Apple, too. Those will compete with pricey models from Bose Corp. and Sennheiser. They will use Apple branding and be a higher-end alternative to the company's Beats line.
The current AirPods will be refreshed later this year with a new chip and support for hands-free Siri activation. For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report here.
Last week Apple was granted patents for both the AirPods design and it's built-in touch controls.
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