Apple headphones aren’t just AirPods, you know. Apple also owns Beats, makers of some pretty cool headphones under its own brand. Today, the latest pair of AirPods rivals just reached a significant landmark: they gained FCC approval, as spotted by MacRumors.
Is Apple about to release new rival in-ear headphones?
Described only as “Apple Inc. Wireless Headset A2015”, no other clues are given by the FCC, but since images of headphones called Powerbeats 4 were discovered buried in the code for iOS 13.3.1, it’s likely that’s what’s referred to here.
Icon for Powerbeats 4 in iOS 13..1
More true wireless headphones, then?
Actually, not quite. If you take a look at the icon found in the iOS software you can see that there’s a bit more to the image than true-wireless would offer. There’s a bit of cable hanging down. This doesn’t mean these are wired headphones, merely that like the Powerbeats 3 that preceded them, that there will be a cable connecting the two earphones. Beyond that, they’ll be wireless.
So, what’s new?
It’s looking likely that the latest Apple H1 chip will be aboard the Powerbeats 4 and if so, then users will be able call Siri to action by calling her name, not tapping on the headphones.
Why wouldn’t I choose AirPods, though?
There are plenty of people who think that Beats creates headphones that sound better than Apple’s do. The current true-wireless in-ears from Beats, the Powerbeats Pro, have had huge success because the audio quality is so strong.
No, actually. The over-ear hooks on the Powerbeats 3, clearly to be repeated on PowerBeats 4, have a lot of fans because they absolutely, positively can’t fall out of your ears, no matter how crazy-fast you’re jogging.
And one other thing: Powerbeats 3 cost $199, that’s $50 cheaper than AirPods Pro, so it’s likely the new headphones will come at a similar price.
When will these new headphones go on sale?
Pretty soon. Apple hates – with a passion – anyone else revealing its secrets. So, the fact that the cat is out of the bag here means we can expect an announcement imminently.
MacRumors suggested it’s possible the Powerbeats 4 could be announced in the March event Apple may be holding but I don’t think that’s right. Apple has never announced a Beats product at an Apple event and won’t start now. The two brands respect each others’ identities.
I’d say we can expect an announcement in the first week of March.
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