Apple plans to launch new high-end audio devices

Jamie McKane

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Apple plans to launch new high-end audio devices

Apple Inc. is about to pump up the volume on its audio-device strategy, planning higher-end AirPods, a new HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones for as early as next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Cupertino, California-based company is working on new AirPods with noise-cancellation and water resistance, the people said.

[Bloomberg]
 

Bryn

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I've been hoping Apple would increase the quality of their products.

The hardware in their MBP line, the frequency with which they update internal specs, the audio quality of the AirPods and Beats stuff, and some arbitrary recent issues like the garbage keyboard for the MBP and compromised battery life are just nonsensical.

Some here may know me as a frequent Apple hater, but it's not because their stuff is simply expensive or sometimes lacking features or compatibility. It's because Apple is a paradox. If they're going to be expensive, then have amazing products. Laptops with the best screen, best build quality, best laptop keyboard, best specs possible etc. I find it inexcusable that ultra expensive Apple products nickel and dime on petty nonsense like 128GB vs. 256GB storage, 7th gen vs. 8th gen, a few megahertz for the CPU, terrible Beats audio, junk audio in the AirPods etc. Ffs - just simplify your products and/or give everyone good specs.
 

TehStranger

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I can just imagine the cost, their current stuff is already pricey. You'll probably get far more value (and possibly better quality) from Bose and Sennheiser et al. They'll almost certainly look good though.
 

Bryn

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I can just imagine the cost, their current stuff is already pricey. You'll probably get far more value (and possibly better quality) from Bose and Sennheiser et al. They'll almost certainly look good though.
TFW Airpods are already R2400 :crylaugh:
Well I'm hoping Apple isn't going to compete with entry level stuff. Not sure if you're aware, but good quality audio gear isn't cheap. Many headphones cost $1.5k and above - if Apple could sell some seriously good headphones for around $1k that would be awesome. People already spend that on an iPhone X that's only good for a year or two. Headphones will last many more years.
 

Ninja'd

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Well I'm hoping Apple isn't going to compete with entry level stuff. Not sure if you're aware, but good quality audio gear isn't cheap. Many headphones cost $1.5k and above - if Apple could sell some seriously good headphones for around $1k that would be awesome. People already spend that on an iPhone X that's only good for a year or two. Headphones will last many more years.
I need to know if you meant to use the R instead of $ because because if not, jirre jesus :eek:
 

Bryn

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I need to know if you meant to use the R instead of $ because because if not, jirre jesus :eek:
Err... R1k headphones can go in the bin.

What's wrong with $1k headphones? Music is a big deal to many people - many of who are happy to drop that amount on a phone with a much shorter lifespan.
 

HashiraMadara

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I need to know if you meant to use the R instead of $ because because if not, jirre jesus :eek:
That's pretty average in terms of high quality head phones. High End Sennheisers fly above R50 000 easily
Well I'm hoping Apple isn't going to compete with entry level stuff. Not sure if you're aware, but good quality audio gear isn't cheap. Many headphones cost $1.5k and above - if Apple could sell some seriously good headphones for around $1k that would be awesome. People already spend that on an iPhone X that's only good for a year or two. Headphones will last many more years.
if we talking high end, I doubt Apple would even compete well carrying an already expensive brand name on its own. Their stuff is brand + engineering and the former is always hefty.
 

TehStranger

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Well I'm hoping Apple isn't going to compete with entry level stuff. Not sure if you're aware, but good quality audio gear isn't cheap. Many headphones cost $1.5k and above - if Apple could sell some seriously good headphones for around $1k that would be awesome. People already spend that on an iPhone X that's only good for a year or two. Headphones will last many more years.
Exceedingly aware. My point is if Apple launch a $1000 pair, the competition at $600 - $800 would probably as good, if not better.

Also, the phone to headphones comparison doesn't fly. Many buy their phones over long terms with contracts, I can see this being less of a thing for headphones. Also, who would be seen with Gen 1 Apple high end headphones when Gen 1S releases in two years with minor improvements and a $1200 price tag?

Also, the market for $1000+ headphones is incredibly limited, I would think they'd want to play around the $500 - $600 mark.
 

TehStranger

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That's pretty average in terms of high quality head phones. High End Sennheisers fly above R50 000 easily
Que? You can get a pair of HD800S for half that. Unless you're including amplification, but even then getting to R50,000 is a stretch.

Or you're talking about Sennheiser's Orpheus, which is $50,000, not rand.
 

saor

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What's wrong with $1k headphones? Music is a big deal to many people
Why then would you drop that on a company that's had no real experience in high-fidelity audio gear? There's plenty of well-established brands with years of audio experience to provide such products.
 

Bryn

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I've never gone over R2000 with mine. Granted, I'm not an audiophile.
You don't have to be an audiophile to appreciate a certain level of quality. <R2k on an external headphone DAC & amp combo like the Asus U7 and <R3k on headphones like the Audio-Technica M50x are an amazing combo for the vast majority of people.

if we talking high end, I doubt Apple would even compete well carrying an already expensive brand name on its own. Their stuff is brand + engineering and the former is always hefty.
Apple has the resources to seriously disrupt the industry though. Their brand is already strong enough to focus the budget for some high-end headphones on research and manufacturing. The HomePod is mostly a flop, but if it didn't suffer serious compatibility issues, a brain-dead Siri and a lack of IO it could have done really well.

Exceedingly aware. My point is if Apple launch a $1000 pair, the competition at $600 - $800 would probably as good, if not better.

Also, the phone to headphones comparison doesn't fly. Many buy their phones over long terms with contracts, I can see this being less of a thing for headphones. Also, who would be seen with Gen 1 Apple high end headphones when Gen 1S releases in two years with minor improvements and a $1200 price tag?

Also, the market for $1000+ headphones is incredibly limited, I would think they'd want to play around the $500 - $600 mark.
The assumption though is that Apple shouldn't do it unless it can disrupt the industry with unexpectedly good quality at the price. And people can finance any Apple product in the US and SA if they want.

There's no avoiding the simple fact that it's outrageous how poor the audio quality is of the EarPods included with every iPhone, the $159 AirPods and all the various Beats products at their respective price points and realistic expectations. Apple should drastically up its audio game. The HomePod has shown that Apple isn't entirely incompetent in that regard, and if Tim Cook is into music as much as he likes to indicate, he must be acutely aware that their products don't sound a whole lot better than picking up some dry dog s**t and sticking it in your ears.
 

Bryn

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Why then would you drop that on a company that's had no real experience in high-fidelity audio gear? There's plenty of well-established brands with years of audio experience to provide such products.
I care nought for experience and brand power. If reviews rolled out for a new pair of Apple headphones and consistently rated them as unbelievable quality and value, then I'm on board.
 

TehStranger

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You don't have to be an audiophile to appreciate a certain level of quality. <R2k on an external headphone DAC & amp combo like the Asus U7 and <R3k on headphones like the Audio-Technica M50x are an amazing combo for the vast majority of people.
True, but audio quality faces diminishing returns, especially for the average Joe. Your combo above would be great for 98% of people, but heck, many could enjoy at an even lower price point. Tough to say, but things like active noise cancelling, wireless and decent battery life will make far more of an impact than slight above already-very-good audio quality. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD1 Edition Pink Floyd for being out and about (I picked them up FAR below retail) and I appreciate the noise cancelling far more than the audio quality (and I've always been an audio-first kinda guy) because I commute on trains daily and fly every 4 to 6 weeks.

The assumption though is that Apple shouldn't do it unless it can disrupt the industry with unexpectedly good quality at the price. And people can finance any Apple product in the US and SA if they want.

There's no avoiding the simple fact that it's outrageous how poor the audio quality is of the EarPods included with every iPhone, the $159 AirPods and all the various Beats products at their respective price points and realistic expectations. Apple should drastically up its audio game. The HomePod has shown that Apple isn't entirely incompetent in that regard, and if Tim Cook is into music as much as he likes to indicate, he must be acutely aware that their products don't sound a whole lot better than picking up some dry dog s**t and sticking it in your ears.
I'm not sure people will finance headphones though, that's one of the problems.

And yes, I totally agree that the EarPods are dog**** in general. The AirPods don't deliver the quality for their asking price, and it's much the same with many Beats (though these have got far better in recent years). Apple is proof that a fair chunk (perhaps most) people don't care about top end Audio that much. I convert many people with minor upgrades to their bundled phone earphones, but many of them would laugh me out the room the moment I start recommending $150+ pairs.

If Apple releases a great set of cans that offer better value and performance than the competition I'll be right there. However, given their track record I won't hold my breath. You're right though, they have the resources to push the industry, I just don't see it happening.
 

Crowley

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This is Apple.

They will use mediocre hardware, slap a Apple logo on it and sell it at inflated prices.
 
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