Apple reportedly planning 'higher-end' AirPods and new HomePod for 'early 2019'

EnlargeValentina Palladino

EnlargeValentina Palladino

There are over-ear headphones coming from Apple, too.

Apple could launch a pair of over-ear headphones as soon as 2019, according to a report from Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.

The new, premium AirPods are believed to be water-resistant (unfortunately for lovers of water sports, not waterproof) and have noise-canceling functionality. Apple is also looking to increase the distance that AirPods can function away from an iPhone or iPad.

The over-ear headphones will reportedly have higher sound quality than Apple's Beats line.

While none of this is unexpected as such, the timescales may be of note. Naturally, they will be using Apple's branding and because of the company facing numerous challenges, these audio accessories are not going to be released this year. Likewise, depending on when the second-generation AirPods debut it is possible the third-generation may not have been originally anticipated until 2020. The company is developing a wireless charging case for its AirPods earbuds as well as a wireless charging pad called AirPower that's capable of charging an iPhone, AirPods, and an Apple Watch all at the same time. However, production hasn't started, and design and technology partnerships for the product haven't been finalized.

The report from Sina doesn't mention when a cheaper HomePod would go on sale, but noted that Apple is discussing the plans with one of its suppliers, a Taiwanese chip manufacturer called MediaTek. These will be put out under Apple, rather than Beats, branding.

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

Unfortunately, the new and improved AirPods also mean that customers might have to pay more than the $159 price tag of the first-generation AirPods.

So says Bloomberg, which reports that an upgraded version of Apple's AirPods - the firm's toothbrush-head-alike wireless earphones - will arrive next year with added noise cancellation and a longer wireless range.

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