Apple is creating a high end headphone!


#1

#2

I’m not sure that Apple and I have the same definition of “high-end”. I’d bet that these are sub-$300, and competing against mid-tier Senns and equivalent.


#3

That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’m hoping for a sound improvement over their current airpod / beats offering though.

The W1 Chip they developed is pretty cool. If only they put it in a decent-sounding headphone!


#4

These headphones are an older design (I had them back in 2010) but they sounded pretty good for the price. Goes to show that Apple does have mild experience in this market. Wonder if they will be refreshing this line?


#5

I think they might have been okay back then when there were a lot less options for budget IEMs but with the introduction of Chi-Fi and others, I think it’ll be hard for Apple to come up with something that’s competitively priced.


#6

Agreed. Where they can have an advantage is in integrations with the iOS ecosystem - which could be powerful with that W1 chip.


#7

whelp, they certainly have enough money to put into R&D to create an amazing product. hopefully they do it right


#8

They definitely have the the money!

I am hoping they don’t jump straight into the deep-end and do an entry-level “high-end” headphone. Something along the lines of the m50x.

It should certainly have a different sound signature than Beats since they obviously don’t want to self-cannibalize their sales which means they shouldn’t have bloated bass. Just hoping they don’t stray too far down the other direction and release treble cannons.


#9

When I first heard about this my first thought was that it was almost certainly going to be underwhelming. It might sound decent but will likely not be a good bang for buck purchase. People are probably going to buy it anyway because Apple fans will pay for anything they make for some reason.


#10

Plus a lot of Apple users tend to be the ones shelling out high dollars for gear.


#11

No matter what Apple does, the non-sealed nature of their current Apple branded “headphone” offerings make them a difficult audiophile purchase, while their elegance and tech ease makes them sell well to everyone else. Not having volume controls on the Airpods, for example, is very frustrating; the lack of seal makes them difficult to use in transit. Yet, I look around and see lots of white tails hanging from ears… though lots of Beats as well. And that W1 chip does make for rapid linkages to BT in a way no other headset can do on my iPhone.

If they make over-ear, I wonder if they will be open-backed or sealed. It’s almost insult on injury to have non-sealed in-ears, and then to make open-backed on-ears… but we’ll see.


#12

They do have the money, but not necessarily the best intentions. They are looking for a profit and not a lot of Apple fans are audiophiles.
I think when they bought Beats, that was a mistake. Those are more of a niche product and had name recognition for non-audiophiles.
It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with, but I’m sure there will be some sort of caveat that comes with them.


#13

I tend to agree. I’d love to be wrong, and have them do for headphone technology what they did for displays with the Retina display. I don’t expect it, however. When you get into truly premium headphones, it’s a pretty rarefied price tag and pretty small market.


#14

I think Apple is very much qualified and positioned to offer an audiophile grade headphone. A great value-add would be to marry it with a software frontend that allows a user to customize the sound signature, like maybe some form of AI driven equalizer that can “optimize” audio playback on the fly based on your subjective sound preference of a particular genre. Some-such-sort of wizardry. I would buy it.


#15

" Apple’s premium pair of noise-canceling, over-ear headphones could launch by the end of this year and will be able to compete head-on with brands like Bose and Apple-owned Beats by Dre, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman."

Which if the above quote is true, means that apple isn’t actually looking to make high-end headphones but just had some tech features to their headphones and a premium price tag. Which would be disappointing but probably the most realistic scenario.

It’s unfortunate since they keep putting better and better DACs in their Macbooks and even the speakers aren’t that bad. Would be nice if they followed suit with some headphones because they definitely do have the money for R&D.


#16

I’m echoing a sentiment that was already stated but I really liked their balanced armature in-ears. They’ve kind of done this before and can probably do it again.


#17

Ideally, I would hope that some folks realise that Apple’s premium pair of headphones ain’t all it’s cracked up to be and decide to test out truly reputable sound equipment. Basically, I just hope others fall into the same rabbit hole as we did with headphones. Lol.


#18

I’d much rather see Apple develop a high end DAP, something like an iPod Pro.
they’re good at UI (well, if you like iTunes) so it won’t be buggy or futzy.
they make great displays all they need is a good amp and dac and 1tb storage!


#19

I’d much rather see Apple develop a high end DAP

THIS. I was an owner of the original iPod classic and loved the thing until it eventually died after I took it swimming. It had a large library, great battery life and a simple and easy user interface. The iPod lineup hasn’t gotten any love over the past 5-10 years because it isn’t a large market anymore. If Apple were to make a high-end DAP a lot of us would be happy, but I don’t think it is something it could sell to the masses. Look at the Pono player! I think Apple would have a much easier time trying to market high-end headphones. Headphones are an end-point for many users, and something they already use. More expensive headphones must obviously just be better than the headphones I already have right?

It is much harder to explain to someone why they should upgrade their amp, DAC or software because the average user has no experience with most of this equipment. I imagine Apple would have a hard time selling people on a device which includes upgraded amp, DAC, and software, for around the same price as the device they already own which does all that…and MORE! (Cellphone)

If it were to happen, I would love to see an implementation of the iPod Touch, with a great DAC, amp and expandable storage. The iPod Touch software is snappy and if it were able to drive good headphones, it would be a game changer in the DAP market.


#20

The iPod Touch remains one of the best real-world options for a DAP. It’s impossible to beat the level of support and software stability available from a major vendor. After a great deal of deliberation, I’m using an iPod Touch 6, 128G for most mobile listening.

Keeping a media player separate from my phone divides work availability from play, and I have plenty of storage/battery life on the iPod Touch. It is totally stable with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc. And, my mobile use case requires Bluetooth convenience and portability rather than audio perfection. Yes, it would sound better with a higher-end DAC and amp (which right now remain at home). I’m on the fence about expandable storage, as it’s always a weak point for reliability.

Before his death, Steve Jobs was reported to work with Neil Young on a 24 bit audio player: