Apple could be planning one of the biggest shake-ups to the iPhone’s audio in years. A new analyst report claims the company is planning to bundle AirPods wireless headphones in the box of every iPhone 8 when it launches later this year, cutting the cord once and for all on the traditional white earbuds.
The report, published by JPMorgan and outlined by 9to5Mac on Saturday, claims Apple is planning some big changes with this year’s device, which will launch 10 years after Steve Jobs first took the wraps off the original iPhone. Like many other reports, the firm claims that Apple will launch three new iPhones this year: a 7s and 7s Plus, which will make slight improvements to the iPhone 7, and a premium-tier iPhone 8 that features multiple exotic features like an edge-to-edge display and a fingerprint sensor hidden underneath the screen.
But JPMorgan’s report stands out for its claim that Apple will bundle the $159 AirPods, introduced last September, with the iPhone 8. The earbuds feature a new Apple W1 custom wireless chip, giving them an advantage over traditional Bluetooth headsets for their instant connection with any Apple device paired to the same iPhone account. Users can activate the Siri personal assistant by double tapping the earbud, with a built-in mic enabling voice commands and calls.
The rumor follows a report that Apple plans to introduce a Siri speaker to rival the Amazon Echo at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Last week, KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that there was a more than 50 percent chance the company will debut a device with better sound quality than the Alexa-powered Amazon system, with performance comparable to the iPhone 6 and 6s.
Apple has gradually expanded Siri support in recent years, bringing support to the Mac and introducing the ability to invoke the assistant on iPhone with the command “hey Siri.” These rumors suggest the company wants to integrate the assistant further into users’ lives, possibly in response to the growing popularity of Google Home and Amazon Echo. More users means a larger data set to improve the assistant’s artificial intelligence, which will lead to a smarter Siri. Bundling AirPods with every iPhone may seem costly, but it’s not totally illogical.