Apple-Branded Over-Ear Headphones Said to Launch as Early as Second Half of 2019

Apple is planning its own over-ear headphones for as early as the second half of 2019, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


Gurman briefly mentioned the more specific timeframe in a report claiming that Sonos is also developing a high-end pair of wireless, over-the-ear headphones that could be launched by next year. He previously said the Apple headphones could debut as early as this year, so the "second half" distinction is new.

Gurman previously reported that the headphones will use Apple branding and be positioned as a higher-end alternative to the company's line of Beats headphones. He also said Apple originally intended to introduce the headphones by the end of 2018, but faced development challenges causing a delay.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report about Apple's plans to release high-end over-ear headphones that are "as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality." They are also said to feature noise cancellation.


This article, "Apple-Branded Over-Ear Headphones Said to Launch as Early as Second Half of 2019" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Bloomberg: Apple Watch Series 4 Models Compatible With Existing Bands, No New iPad Mini This Year

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu today previewed details about Apple's widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones. Towards the end of the report, there are also a few details about the Apple Watch and iPad that we've highlighted below.


The first noteworthy tidbit is that Apple Watch Series 4 models will be compatible with existing bands, as they are said to have a similar physical size as Series 3 models and earlier. Gurman already said as much earlier this year, but there were some lingering concerns from MacRumors readers in our discussion forums.

Apple Watch Series 4 models are still expected to have up to 15 percent larger displays, as a result of slimmer bezels around the screen. They're also expected to have slightly longer battery life, along with new health and fitness features.

The second tidbit worth singling out is that the iPad mini won't be updated this year, according to Gurman. That information corroborates DigiTimes, which recently reported that "Apple so far has no further plan for the iPad mini series," which hasn't been refreshed since the iPad mini 4 launched in September 2015.

Apple's focus on the lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad may result in the iPad mini line being discontinued eventually, although Gurman hasn't specified.

We're likely just a few weeks away from Apple's usual September event at Steve Jobs Theater, with invites to the media likely to be issued this week. In addition to the new iPhones and Apple Watch Series 4 models, Apple is expected to unveil two new iPad Pros with Face ID, new AirPods, and AirPower pricing and availability.


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Gurman: Apple Considered Removing Lightning Connector on iPhone X

As a side note in his report about technical challenges facing the AirPower, expected to be released by September, well-connected reporter Mark Gurman also noted that Apple considered removing wired charging from the iPhone X.


From his Bloomberg News story:
During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn't feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones.
Just to be absolutely clear, Gurman confirmed to me that this would have included removing the Lightning connector from the device. In fact, his report notes that Apple designers eventually hope to "remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone," although this is likely multiple years away.

A few years ago, it was reported that Apple's design chief Jony Ive's end goal is for the iPhone to resemble a "single sheet of glass," while Apple has repeatedly expressed its ambitions to "create a wireless future," so the eventual removal of the Lightning connector should perhaps come as no surprise.

Apple is already well on its way towards that wireless future, with products and technologies ranging from AirPods and AirPower to its W1 and W2 wireless chips. Apple also made the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack from iPhone 7 models a few years ago, pushing users towards wireless earphones.

Still, removing the Lightning connector would certainly be another controversial decision, given it is not only used for wired charging, but also for audio and data transfer, such as syncing an iPhone with iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Removing the Lightning connector would also prevent an iPhone from directly connecting to a wide range of peripherals, including many adapters, docks, battery cases, power banks, keyboards, game controllers, audio cables, wired headphones, and other accessories authorized under Apple's MFi Program.

In many cases, however, wireless alternatives would be available. It's possible to sync an iPhone with iTunes over Wi-Fi, for example, while wired headphone users can go wireless, Bluetooth-enabled game controllers are available, and upright-positioned wireless chargers can double as a docking station.

Of course, there would be some friction with this transition, just like when Apple switched from its 30-pin dock connector to Lightning in 2012, and removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. In both of those cases, however, the controversy eventually died down as many users came to accept the new reality.

It's also worth noting that Apple considers a lot of different ideas internally that might never materialize in a public-facing product.

At this point, it appears like the Lightning connector on iPhones should live on for at least a few years. Rumors suggest Apple will bundle a faster 18W charger with a USB-C port with iPhones released in 2018, which would connect to the devices with a Lightning to USB-C cable included in the box.


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