According to Bloomberg News, Apple’s AirPods headset sales surprisingly popular. Now, the company is planning to enter the high-end headphone market, in order to achieve its ambitions in the audio field.
According to people familiar with the situation, the tech giant headquartered in Cupertino, California, is developing a noise-canceling headphone that rivals current leaders in the market, such as Bose and Apple’s own Beats brand. Informed sources said that Apple plans to launch the headset as early as the end of this year, but now faces development challenges that may cause it to postpone the release.
In the past year, the development of Apple’s headphones has been intermittent. Informed sources said the company encountered similar problems in the development of smart speaker HomePod, including several redesigns. They warn that Apple may redesign the headset before release or simply abandon the project. Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Earlier this year, Apple released a $ 349 smart home Speaker HomePod, re-planned to launch high-end headphones. In addition to noise reduction, Apple also plans to include wireless pairing features like AirPods. This will be Apple’s latest series of music-focused products and services.
The iPod and iTunes stores have revolutionized the way music is consumed, the digital download is up and the physical CD is down. Apple’s largest acquisition in the history of 2014 was the $ 3 billion acquisition of Beats, a deal that allowed Apple to enter the high-end headphones and music streaming media.
HomePod’s voice got a lot of acclaim this year, and Apple is already preparing other audio accessories, such as upgrading to AirPods, adding waterproofing and a new wireless chip that lets Siri be voice-activated.
So far, AirPods has been a key factor in the success of Apple’s “other products.” These products, including AirPods, Beats earphones, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPad accessories, generated more than $ 5 billion (for the first time) in the first quarter of Apple’s revenue, an increase of 36%.
Apple said at a recent earnings conference call that sales of wearable products, including smartwatches, AirPods and Beats earphones, soared 70% last year among such products.
Apple executives said in the acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics in 2014 that the success of the headset business was the biggest driver. Apple-branded headphones seem to replace Beats headsets, though Beats sells lower-priced wireless headsets and may not compete directly with new products. Despite the popularity of AirPods, sports-oriented wireless Beats headphones still seem to be selling well.
When Apple introduced Apple Music in 2015, it abandoned the Beats music streaming name. However, taking into account the advantages of Beats headphones, the company may retain the brand while continuing to develop new headphones.
Research and Markets said that Beats, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony and Skullcandy are both leaders in the headphone market, and by 2023 the headphone market will have annual revenues of $ 20 billion, almost double the expected sales this year. Researchers at the NPD Group said last year that sales of AirPods and Beats headsets helped Apple make up 27% of the market for wireless headsets, accounting for half of revenues.
For the new Apple headphones, pricing will be the key. HomePod costs more than $ 100 more than Sonos, $ 200 more than Amazon Echo, and $ 50 less than Google’s Home Max. Beats and Bose’s high-end wireless headphones are priced at $ 350, while Sennheiser prices range from $ 100 to $ 500.
TechInsights data shows Apple costs $ 349 for a HomePod at a cost of $ 216, meaning its margins are much lower than other Apple hardware products. AirPods are hard to assemble and use unusual design tips, which can make them expensive to produce. Apple headphones may use similar audio technologies, pushing up costs.