Apple aims to enter the high-end headphones market

Sony WH-1000XM2 Review

Bloomberg's sources suggest the company may launch the new accessory by the end of the year at the earliest, but also cautioned that development of the gadget has been on-off for a while and, thus, may be subject to an overhaul or even scrapped entirely. Apple intends to launch the new headphones in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season although development challenges could toss a wrench into those plans.

According to NPD Group, Apple's AirPods and Beats headphones combined to give Apple more than a quarter (27 percent) of the wireless headphone market, with Apple raking in almost half of all the revenue due to its premium pricing models.

Apple has not released AirPods' exact sales numbers; the product has been lumped in with Apple Watch and other products in the "Other Sales" category.

Apple's AirPods earphones swept the market in an unexpected way and now, the Cupertino-based company hopes for an encore performance at the high end of the market. The possibility that Apple might redesign the headphones again before launch hasn't been ruled out.

Interestingly, the report says the headphones will bear the Apple logo.

The headphones will feature the same seamless pairing process as the AirPods due to Apple's custom SoC powering them. Apple purchased Beats for $3 billion in 2014, and Beats has been Apple's main headphone brand until the introduction of AirPods.

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It's unclear what is going to happen to Beats-branded headphones.

Apple's headphone ambitions put it in a collision course with already-popular brands like Sony, Samsung, and Sony - and Apple's own Beats by Dre. Beats Music eventually became Apple Music.

A pair of wireless headphones, to rival those produced by Bose, Sennheiser, and Beats itself, seems like a logical step for Apple.

Apple selling high-end headphones, however, could be another story. Because Beats sell at a broader price range from $100 to $350, the new Apple headphones may not cannibalize Beats' margins, according to Bloomberg.

No word as yet on how much these headphones will cost. AirPods have been tricky to assemble and use unusual design tricks, likely making them expensive to produce.

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