We have been planning a pair of Apple on-ear headphones for some time now, with many outlets reporting that the Cupertino company plans to release a pair of studio quality cans this year.
The headphones, which are tentatively known as AirPods Studio or AirPods X, will apparently be the smartest headphones we've ever seen, according to rumors of smart ear detection sensors.
AirPods Studio isn't the only new Apple headset to launch in 2020, either. The AirPods Pro Lite will apparently be an entry-level version of the ProNoise Proof AirPods, while the so-called AirPods 3 are the expected sequel to the original AirPods – which saw their last upgrade in 2019.
[Update:on[Update:The[Miseàjour:le[Update:TheApple AirPods Studio Apparently Launches “Very Soon”, according to a iPhone 12 video leak from EverythingApplePro.
The video shares an “exclusive” update from XDA Developer‘s Max Weinbach about the AirPods Studio, who says that the firmware for the on-ear headphones has been “finalized” and is ready to move to production units.
Weinbach also claims that the launch is “imminent” and “likely” at WWDC 2020 alongside the iPhone 12, which is scheduled to take place on June 22.]
Cut to the chase
- What are they? Apple's first on-ear headphones
- When will they be released? Rumor has it that they launch Ion on June 22, 2020
- How will they be called? Maybe Apple AirPods Studio or AirPods X
- How much will they cost? Apparently $ 349 (around £ 280 / AU $ 530)
The Apple AirPods Studio is perhaps the most concrete version we know of to date. That's because the headphones were apparently revealed early, after 9to5Mac discovered icons representing rumors about the boxes in iOS 14 code.
Two icons – one light, one dark – represent a pair of on-ear headphones with padding on the earbuds and headband, and appear to show two different color options for the headphones (probably space gray and the same white as the AirPods ).
It's the clearest picture of the new Apple headset so far. You can see the icons below:
Right now, everything we know about AirPods Studio – from potential release dates to prices – is based on rumors and leaks. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't give credibility to what we've heard so far – that's why we've compiled this guide for everything we know about the first Apple over-ear headphones, as well as all the features we want to see from the Apple AirPods Studio.
Apple AirPods Studio Release Date
The Apple AirPods Studio could be released as early as June 2020, as part of Apple's annual WDDC event.
This release date has been floating around for a while now, and was most recently asked by XDA developer Max Weinbach, who says that the firmware for the in-ear headphones has been “finalized” and is ready to move to production units .
Weinbach also claims that the launch is “imminently” and “likely” to take place during WWDC 2020 alongside the iPhone 12, which is scheduled to take place on June 22.
This new information saves a May report from The Information, which said that Apple suppliers Goertek and Luxshare will assemble “at least some of the headphones in Vietnam and begin deliveries to Apple in June or July”.
In any case, a 2020 release date has been on the cards for a long time. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – whose Apple predictions have proven to be correct in the past – claimed that the new headphones will be launched in 2020 in 2018, when he said that Apple was working on AirPods up to date as well as on a “private label”. High-end on-ear headphones with a whole new design ”in 2018.
As we now know, Kuo's prediction on the updated AirPods turned out to be correct, as shown by the release of AirPods (2019) last year, and the subsequent release of AirPods Pro.
Since then, Kuo has developed its initial claims, claiming that 2020 would bring the iPhone SE 2 (check), a new iPad Pro (check) and MacBooks with scissor keys, as well as a “smaller loading mat without wire, UWB tag and high-end Bluetooth headset “from Apple.
Kuo's predictions being correct so far, we wouldn't be surprised if he – and the others – were right about the release of the on-ear model in the first half of 2020 as well – which would coincide well with WWDC on June 12.
There is however no guarantee that AirPods Studio will launch in June. A Tweeter from respected technology analyst Jon Prosser suggests that new in-ear AirPods (perhaps AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro Lite) will arrive before the Apple AirPods Studio ear. This means that we could wait until the last half of 2020 to see them, perhaps during the annual launch of Apple's iPhone in October.
Either way, we expect to see AirPods Studio this year – even though the headphone release date has been pushed back in the past, as Bloomberg reported in 2018.
Apple AirPods Studio Award
An inventory list from the US Target store may have revealed the price of the eagerly awaited cans.
YouTuber Jon Prosser posted a picture on Twitter, claiming to show the next Target System over-ear headphones, mysteriously listed as “Apple AirPods (Generation X)”.
The product in the picture seems to cost $ 399, which equates to around £ 300 / AU $ 600 – if these are the AirPod Studio / AirPods X rumors, then the brand is aiming for the top of the price range, exceeding the cost Competitors like the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose Noise Canceling 700 headphones.
More recently, however, Prosser has alleged that the AirPods Studio would cost around $ 50 less than initial reports suggested, at $ 349 (about £ 280 / AU $ 530).
Either way, we don't expect the new Apple on-ear headphones to be cheap.
Apple AirPods Studio design
The two icons discovered in the iOS 14 code clearly represent a pair of on-ear headphones – and the lack of wires suggests that they may also be wireless. To be honest, we wouldn't expect Apple to release a pair of wired headphones after the success of their previous real wireless models.
The icons also appear to show two different color options for the headphones (probably space gray and the same white as the AirPods).
However, Jon Prosser speculated that Apple on-ear headphones might be available in a range of colors, citing the existence of three different product codes, all priced at $ 399 (approximately £ 320 / AU $ 610). ). So far, Apple's existing headphones, EarPods, AirPods and AirPods Pro, have only been available in white, although Beats Apple-owned headphones are often available in a range of bright colors.
Apple AirPods Studio: what we want to see
The best over-ear headphones combine elegant design, comfort and portability – ideally without breaking the bank. But these days, headphones can also be incredibly technological, what we expect from a pioneering company like Apple.
That's why we'd like to see modern conveniences like wireless connectivity, built-in voice assistance, and active noise cancellation in the rumors about Apple over-ear headphones – and most of all, fantastic sound quality.
Better sound quality than AirPods
They may be popular, but Apple's AirPods have never been known for their audio quality. Although they have a lively presentation, they can seem a little harsh when it comes to high frequency sounds like necks, violins and trumpets.
Apple AirPods aren't the most serious headphones on the market either (although the newer AirPods Pro do better), but more powerful bass could definitely be had with a pair of higher-quality on-ear headphones .
Ketan Bharadia, international technical writer for What Hi-Fi? agrees: “I never assessed the sound of the company's headphones but, [Apple’s] the engineering power and sound qualities of their iPhones and HomePod, there is a lot of potential for the ears to make things happen. “
Headphones tend to offer higher sound quality than in-ear models anyway, in part because they have larger drivers than in-ear models. These larger pilots are able to move larger volumes of air than their smaller counterparts, which in turn creates more powerful audio performance.
According to Audio advice, these larger drivers tend to reproduce the “widest frequency range, from soft, silky treble to deep, tight bass”, providing a richer and more colorful soundstage than in-ear headphones.
Classic Apple design
Remove the technicalities from a pair of headphones, and you basically have headphones (potentially very expensive) – and as such, it's important that they look good.
We know that Apple has a strong design aesthetic; Despite the initial ridicule, the Apple AirPods have become iconic for their unique design, with many real manufacturers of wireless headphones since inspired by their long protruding rods and their all-white color palette.
We'd love to see an evolution of classic Apple design with their headphone rumors, with sleek, clean lines, premium materials, and a minimalist look without a lot of bulky hardware ruining the effect.
While Apple hasn't even confirmed the existence of the StudioPods, that hasn't stopped the German tech publication Curved from making fun of its own conceptual illustrations of what the headphones might look like.
Curved's illustrations are based on the appearance of Apple's HomePod, framed by “the same textile blend as Apple's smart speaker.”
They're also inspired by Beats headphones in terms of form and construction, but trade the Beats logo for Apple's own stamp, although we're not sure if such abundant use of color would be likely. brand that has never made white audio accessories. far.
That said, it has been suggested that the Apple AirPods Studio may be available in a range of colors after three different product codes, all priced at $ 399 (approximately £ 320 / AU $ 610) have been discovered in one list of products at Target.
Curved also predicted that the headphones would charge wirelessly, showing the simulated headphones resting on an Apple-branded charging platform, and that the cases would have touch controls, much like the Microsoft Surface headphones.
Decent sound insulation
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The way Apple on-ear headphones will have a huge impact on the different situations in which they can be used, as explained by Jeremy Rodeschini, senior supervising engineer at the National Film & Television School:
“My role is to do sound engineering covering a wide range of applications, from theatrical sound to virtual reality and live sound – and each application has very different requirements.”
While Rodeschini is looking for “excellent isolation from ambient noise, reliability and robustness” of the headphones he uses to mix live sound, comfort and “slightly flattering response” is preferable when recording actors delivering their lines in the studio.
Of course, noise isolation is not only useful for working with live sound; for all those who want to listen to music in noisy environments, such as during their daily trips by public transport for example, good sound insulation makes all the difference.
How a pair of headphones can isolate ambient noise depends on how they seal around your ears, creating a physical barrier that prevents environmental sound from reaching your ears; this can be difficult for styles of headphones, as they do not offer a seal as tight as in-ear models.
Still, a good pair of on-ear headphones should be able to physically block out a decent amount of ambient noise, and that's something we'd expect from a pair of high-end headphones from Apple.
Fantastic noise cancellation
If Apple wants its AirPods Studio to compete with the best on-ear headphones on the market, it should remove Sony's book and offer the same high level of noise cancellation as that provided by Sony's WH-1000XM3, as well than sound insulation.
The best noise canceling headphones make traveling easier, eliminating the noise of crying babies, sound traffic and loud conversations from your neighbors by digitally suppressing unwanted background noise.
With Apple's technological power, we'd be surprised if a pair of San Cupertino company's on-ear headphones didn't include noise-canceling technology – after all, it's an increasingly common feature of premium headphones .
Apple H1 headset chip
If Apple is going to release a pair of on-ear headphones, we expect them to have the same H1 headset chip built into the AirPods (2019) and PowerBeats Pro.
Apple's new H1 chip is designed to improve connectivity and battery life, and enables a new “Hey Siri” voice activation feature in upgraded AirPods – everything we'd like to see in everything future Apple over-ear headphones.
Wireless isn't everything – if Apple markets these headphones as studio quality cans, the option of using a wired connection to your device will be crucial.
Indeed, wired headphones tend to offer better sound quality than their wireless counterparts, such as Joe Cox, global editor of What Hi-Fi? Explain:
“Bluetooth would traditionally compress your music files for wireless transmission, reducing audio quality before it even reaches your headphones.”
While advances in Bluetooth like aptX HD mean audio quality is much better than it once was, you won't find this technology in Apple's AirPods (2019) – and if the company doesn't include With aptX HD support in StudioPods, the option for a wired connection will be important to get that studio quality sound.
For truly modern connectivity, Apple will need to include support for the latest Bluetooth 5.0, while ensuring players don't experience annoying delays by adding support for aptX Low Latency.
The new Apple StudioPods may take inspiration from Beats' on-ear headphones like Beats Studio 3 wireless noise canceling headphones – but these models aren't exactly known for their audio quality either, with critics criticizing them. their bass – heavy presentation.
If Apple defines these new headphones as studio quality, true audiophiles like Rodeschini will seek perfect audio precision:
“Personally, I like a comfortable pair of headphones that deliver sound as close as possible to the original. So I can appreciate all the expertise of the mixing console and get as close as possible to the artist's intention. ”
He continues: “If headphones add color to the soundtrack, it would be like adding the same mix of spices to every dish you eat without the chef's knowledge – in my opinion, that is undesirable.”
Can't wait for the Apple AirPods Studio to launch? Check out the best deals for in-ear headphones we found today: