There have been rumors of Apple-branded wireless, over the ear headphones around for over a year now. There was some evidence that they might arrive alongside the new iPad Pros and MacBook Air a little over a month ago, but they slid through Apple’s first release window of the year along with the coming AirTags tracking devices.
Reading between the lines of some recent news, I can’t help but think that these new headphones will be arriving sooner rather than later.
First off, there was a report over the weekend that Apple was offering their employees up to 50% discounts on HomePods. There have been rumors that they are working on a follow-up to the original HomePod, so this sale seems like a smart way to clear stock ahead of a coming launch. It’s also a pretty common move for Apple.
What came out later via MacRumors was that Apple is also offering similar discounts on Beats gear, including the Studio 3s. Going by the rumors, that model should be the closest to the new Apple-branded headphones, as both are wireless, over the ear headphones with active noise cancellation.
Does this employee sale also point to an imminent release for these new phones? I’m not sure if we should expect them along with the new iPhone 9, which could show up as soon as tomorrow, but it seems like Apple could be preparing for a launch.
It also turns out that Apple employees aren’t the only ones who can get a great deal on a pair of Beats Solo 3s right now. BestBuy has them on sale for $150 off at $199 right now. That may not be 50% off, but they are definitely priced to move. If you are looking for a nice pair of phones with noise cancellation and don’t want to wait (and money isn’t an issue at the moment), then this is a solid deal.
Again, it seems like Apple is doing what they can to clear stock of an overlapping product ahead of a launch. Still, these sales definitely aren’t a guarantee anything is imminent. Who knows how successful they will be thanks to the widespread economic impact of COVID-19?
For the same reason, Apple may decide to hold the release of their new headphones until later in the year. I don’t think anyone would blame them if they do. But these kinds of sales after rumors of a new product are a fairly reliable indicator that things are in motion. My money is still on these new phones arriving before Summer, but we shall see.
The next step will be some more ripples from the supply chain when the phones are in production. Once those start showing up, it’s officially on.