Bloomberg reports that Apple has been intermittently working on their headphone project for some time, similar to HomePod which was reportedly in production for five years, claiming that the company may scrap the project entirely if they are unable to overcome their "development challenges". The company's largest ever acquisition was the $3 billion purchase of Beats in 2014 - a deal that got Apple into high-end headphones and music streaming.
Apple has been reported to be having problems with its technology often enough over the a year ago.
How much the new headphones will cost is still unknown, but Bloomberg and KGI's emphasis on Apple's "high-end" ambitions suggests they will not come cheap. Apple apparently plans to make its noise-canceling headphones similar to the AirPods in terms of how they pair wirelessly with the iPhone. Beats headphones, along with AirPods, have also helped Apple dominate the headphone market. A new wireless chip is said to enable "Hey Siri" voice activation on the next generation AirPods. The category generated over $14 billion in revenue for Apple in 2017. Within that category, wearable product sales, which include the Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, surged 70 percent previous year, Apple said on a recent earnings call. Athlete-oriented wireless Beats earphones still seem to be selling well despite the popularity of AirPods. Beats and Bose both charge $350 for their high-end wireless headphones, while Sennheiser prices range from $100 all the way to $500. As a result, Apple is going to have to be smart about the pricing strategy, which it will, given its success with the AirPods. The Apple headphones will likely use similar audio technology, driving up costs.