A bold new Apple accessory could be coming this year

January 11, 2016, 10:28am


Beats headphones are sold along side iPods in an Apple store on May 9, 2014 in New York City. Photo: Andrew Burton—Getty Images  

Lisa Eadicicco,  TIME  

Apple is developing a new set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds, according to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, an often-accurate Apple watcher.

The headphones are said to be entirely wireless, which means they won’t include a cable connecting the two earbuds. Gurman reports the headphones may launch alongside Apple’s next iPhone this fall.

This comes after multiple news outlets, including Fast Company, have reported that Apple’s next iPhone won’t have a traditional headphone jack. Instead, users would have to plug headphones in through the iPhone’s Lightning connector instead.

Gurman says the new wireless earbuds wouldn’t replace the headphones Apple has been shipping with its iPhone since 2012, but they would be offered as a premium alternative.

iPhone owners would also be able to communicate with Siri and answer phone calls through the headset via a noise-canceling microphone. Gurman also writes that the buds would come in a special case that would recharge them while not in use. Other wireless earbuds, like those made by Earin, come with charging cases as well.

The Apple Watch is the company's' first entirely new product category since the original iPad. It's a huge gamble for Apple and a test of the still-nascent wearable market. The Watch is the most customizable and varied product Apple has likely ever launched. It'll come in three editions made of different metals and be available with multiple snap-in wrist bands. Prices start at $349.

The Watch has a touch interface that can sense the difference between a light touch and hard press. But it also has a "digital crown" that allows users to quickly scroll through lists without obscuring the screen.

The Watch must be paired with an iPhone for many of its functions. The device piggybacks on the phone's data and GPS connections to pipe in directions or incoming voice calls and text messages, for instance.

The earbuds would mark one of the first wholly new audio accessories following Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of headphone maker Beats in 2014. Still, building wireless earbuds is no easy task. Other companies already sell similar devices, but many of them have received mediocre reviews, with complaints focusing on sound quality and connectivity issues.

Apple typically reveals its newest iPhones in September.