Apple’s wireless headphones will use something better than Bluetooth

Apple earpods
Apple’s current-generation EarPods Flickr / Faruk Ateş. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Apple might ditch Bluetooth and rely on a new, home-made wireless technology for the headphones in the forthcoming iPhone.

That’s according to a new report by KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who has an impressive track record of accurately predicting changes to Apple products. AppleInsider obtained the report.

In his note, Kuo says Apple will use a low-power “Bluetooth-like communication chip” for its wireless headphones, insinuating that the company won’t use the standard Bluetooth technology.

He adds that Apple has “higher requirements for power-saving, communication specs and potential rapid growth,” which suggests that the current Bluetooth standard isn’t up to Apple’s standards. The new wireless technology will be “own-designed,” according to Kuo.

A document leaked in July suggests that Apple’s wireless headphones will be called “AirPods.”

AirPods not included

It doesn’t appear that Apple will include its Airpod wireless headphones with the iPhone 7. Instead, Apple will package a pair of Lightning EarPods that connect to the iPhone 7’s Lightning port, which is expected to replace the standard headphone jack. For those wishing to cling on to their wired headphones, Apple is said to include a 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor.

Apple’s wireless headphones will apparently be targeted for the premium market, and wireless Beats headphones will be designed for the mid-range market.

It’s still unclear how much Apple will charge for its AirPods, but Apple currently offers a “premium” pair of wired EarPods for $79 versus the standard pair that costs $29, which could give some idea of what Apple’s premium AirPods would cost.

I’m a fan of wireless Bluetooth headphones, as it means a tangle-free experience that liberates me from the tether between my phone and my head.

At the same time, Bluetooth isn’t a perfect solution for wireless music. Pairing Bluetooth devices is still a convoluted affair, and many question the sound quality of the Bluetooth standard — you normally have to pay the big bucks for a good pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones that can compete with wired models in terms of sound quality. A high-end pair of Bluetooth headphones typically cost $200 or more.

We’ll have to wait and see what Apple announces during tomorrow’s iPhone event, as rumours and speculation don’t always translate to fact.

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