Apple has been working on a custom Bluetooth chip that would help improve the battery life of its future wireless earbuds, according to a new Forbes report
Citing “a source with knowledge of the project,” the report says it’s “possible” the wireless earbuds will launch with Apple’s next iPhone this September, but that the project has been held up by Bluetooth performance issues for the past few years.
This new battery chip could help with that, though it’s still unknown whether or not Apple’s earbuds will actually use the chip, or if they will use one from a traditional third-party supplier like Broadcom.
In any case, the report claims Apple’s chip derives from tech developed by Passif Semiconductor, a company that focused on low-power chipsets when Apple acquired it in 2013.
The need for improved Bluetooth headphones would be heightened if Apple ditches the headphones jack with the next iPhone, as has been widely reported over the past several months. Without that jack, you won’t be able to use a pair of wired headphones unless they had Apple’s Lightning connector, meaning they’d only work with other Apple devices (provided you don’t want to use an adaptor.)
While it’s not clear if Apple will sell its own wireless headphones in time for that phone’s release, a January report from reliable Apple reporter Mark Gurman claimed that the company is developing a pair of truly wireless earbuds, which it might call “AirPods.”
Those kind of earphones differ from standard Bluetooth pairs in that they aren’t tied together by any cables whatsoever. Bragi’s Dash earbuds
kicked off this trend in earnest (and launched to mixed reviews earlier this year), but the likes of Samsung
and Doppler Labs
have developed pairs as well, and more headphone makers are likely to launch models of their own going forward.all wireless headphones, but it’s a particular problem with truly wireless earbuds, as they simply have less room to implement a larger battery. (One of the reasons neckband-style wireless headphones have grown over the past few years is because they allow just the opposite.)
An efficient chip like this might not fix the other concerns with truly wireless earbuds — the fact that they’re easier to misplace, lesser sound quality, etc. — but improved battery life is always a good thing.
Apple was not immediately available for comment.