Apple plans new, improved AirPods, HomePod and over-ear headphones

AirPods are reportedly getting an upgrade

Those same sources added that Apple is putting together AirPods with water resistance (mainly against rain or sweat, not for swimming or anything like that) and noise-cancellation. Apple is also looking to increase the distance that AirPods can function away from an iPhone or iPad.

The new product is expected to cost more than the current rate of $159, which may cause the company to segment them like they do with their phones. Apple is also mulling adding biometric sensors like a heart-rate monitor to the AirPods, though it is unclear if it has chose to go through with them or not. Don't expect the pricing to be on the affordable side though, with them likely to be placed as a "higher-end alternative to the company's Beats line". Apple originally meant to introduce the headphones by the end of 2018, but has faced development challenges, and is now targeting a launch as early as next year, the people said. The existing AirPods are still scheduled to be refreshed with better wireless tech and "hands-free Siri activation" later this year, according to the report. Executives from hardware maker Inventec Corp. Foxconn is said to be working with Apple to ramp up AirPods production. The report has a new HomePod, updated high-end AirPods, and all-new over-ear headphones shipping at some point in 2019.

Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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Apple has increasingly turned to pricey audio accessories to boost revenue and profit. Apple already stocks the Beats Studio 3 over-ear headphones. This would turn the AirPods into a health wearable in addition to an audio product. Thus far, the company has used Inventec and Luxshare Precision for manufacturing but it has struggled to meet demand. First, Apple is said to be working on own-brand over-ear wireless headphones.

Enlarge / Sales of Apple's HomePod speaker have reportedly fallen below expectations.

According to Bloomberg, "Apple designers eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger, according to people familiar with the company's work". Apple might be working with Tymphany for the new over-the-ear headphones. Production hasn't started, and the deal isn't finalized.

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