Apple is planning to release higher-end AirPods, studio-quality over-the-ear headphones, and a new HomePod smart speaker in 2019.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, the new AirPods will be noise canceling and water resistant enough to combat rain and perspiration. There’s no mention of whether or not there would be an audio quality boost at the same time, but you at least wouldn’t have to endure unwanted noises from the outside world. Apple is also looking to increase the distance that AirPods can function away from an iPhone or iPad.
In the future, Apple may also add a heart-rate monitor and other health-tracking sensors. The new AirPods will reportedly be pricier than their predecessor, potentially segmenting the AirPods line into two models, and is increasing its reliance on contract manufacturer Foxconn to improve production of the AirPods.
The report also reiterates that Apple is continuing to work on a pair of premium over-ear headphones that will compete with Bose and Sennheiser headsets, to be released under the Apple brand rather than Beats. While there was a possibility that those headphones could launch in 2018, “development challenges” have pushed them into 2019.
Previous reports have claimed the headphones would feature noise cancellation and an all-new design, challenging models currently available in the $350 USD to $500 price range. Apple is said to be dealing with Tymphany, the audio subsidiary of computer peripheral manufacturer Primax Electronics, to produce the new model.
Finally, the Bloomberg report claims that there is potentially a new HomePod smart speaker on the way. Unfortunately, there are no details about what features it might boast. Instead, the report says that Apple recently met with manufacturers Inventec, who built the first generation, but may not work on the HomePod 2.0.
Bloomberg notes that none of these aforementioned deals are finalized, and production has not begun on any of these new audio products.