Update April 8: There is some confusion around claims that Apple will "phase out" Beats. Leaker Jon Prosser clarified that "phase out" meant Apple will build up its own brand over time and eventually dissolve Beats. He also pointed out that Beats are selling for 40% off to employees.
However, a 9to5Mac report claims phasing out Beats is "not a strategy that Apple plans to pursue." We probably won't know for sure until Apple gives its official stance, but we'll keep a close eye on this space for any updates.
Apple is rumored to release over-ear headphones and new AirPods X with a long-term goal of phasing out the Beats brand.
Beats is one of the most recognizable brands in the audio industry, but Front Page Tech host and serial leaker Jon Prosser wrote in a Tweet that it could be dissolved to make way for Apple.
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Prosser also said Apple would launch over-ear headphones at WWDC in June. Codenamed B515, the headphones would cost $350 and be direct competitors to the Bose 700 headphones, the current best noise-canceling headphones.
You ready for this? 👀Apple Over-Ear HeadphonesCodename: B515(Think Beats 700)$350Aimed for WWDCAirPods XCodename: B517For sports/running(think Beats X)~$200Aimed for Sept/Oct☝️ Probably what DigiTimes thought was “AirsPods Pro Lite”End goal: phase out Beats 🤫April 7, 2020
Also packed in this rumor-rich tweet are details about the next AirPods, which could launch in September or October as the AirPods X. These will apparently cost around $200 and be "for sports/running." That price would put the AirPods X in line with the new Powerbeats Pro, although the name appears to be adopted from the Beats X earbuds.
Apple entered the audio market in earnest when it acquired Beats in 2014. The immensely popular brand continued its dominance among consumers, and improved the quality of its products under Apple.
Then, in 2016, Apple released the AirPods under its parent brand and they quickly became the best-selling wireless earbuds around. The excellent AirPods Pro was released soon after with active noise-canceling for people who wanted a more premium option.
Apple and Beats now occupy the same space, so it's possible the former wants to dissolve the latter as a way to unify under one banner. Whatever the case, we expect to see more Apple headphones in the coming months.