Among other things, Apple’s AirPods are known for the ability to detect when an individual earbud is or isn’t in your ear and start or stop playback accordingly. A new report from 9to5Mac claims that a similar feature will be offered in Apple’s upcoming over-ear headphones, but the headphones will instead detect whether they are placed on your head or lowered around your neck.
The publication cites “people familiar with the matter” who have detailed some of Apple’s plans. The report also refers to the headphones as “AirPods Studio.”
This product was previously described in some detail in a report in Bloomberg. That story said Apple is testing two versions of its over-ear headphones: one intended for sports and fitness use, and the other with a more “premium” feel with leather-like fabrics. Further, Bloomberg’s sources said that Apple will make some components of the headphones modular—so, for example, wearers could replace the ear pads as they wear over time.
This week’s new report on the headphones at 9to5Mac adds that the headphones may automatically detect how they are placed on your head and send the right or left audio channel to the right or left ear, respectively, meaning that you won’t be able to accidentally put them on in a reverse orientation.
Additionally, connecting these headphones with a macOS or iOS device would give the user software-based equalizer settings, “with low, medium, and high frequency adjustments available.” The headphones would also, of course, support active noise cancellation and transparency mode, like AirPods Pro.
Apple’s AirPods Pro product, while popular, has drawn some ire for how the company seems to have handled noise cancellation. Users report that the active noise cancellation was more effective earlier in the headphones’ life, but they believe a firmware update reduced the potency of that feature—possibly as a side effect of an effort on Apple’s part to improve bass in the headphones.
It seems that AirPods Studio (if that is in fact what they end up being called) are still being worked on at Apple, and we don’t yet know when they might hit the market. Bloomberg’s sources claimed that the headphones would compete at a similar price point to noise-cancellation headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, around $ 350.
Listing image by Jeff Dunn