Airpods 2 Could Launch Alongside an Extremely Similar Rival From Sonos
Smart speaker juggernaut Sonos is reportedly looking to set off into uncharted waters this year. The electronics company, best known of its sound bars and beastly loudspeakers, is reportedly developing a pair of high-end, wireless headphones that sound a lot like Apple’s long-awaited AirPods 2.
The potential headset is said to cost somewhere around $300, be over-ear, provide crisp audio quality, and support various voice assistants, according to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman Thursday. If you’ve been following the ongoing AirPods rumors, that suite of features probably sounds pretty familiar. Indeed, Apple’s upcoming AirPods follow-up and Sonos’s new buds might even hit the market around the same time.
Sonos’s newfangled headphones could hit shelves as early as 2020, which is roughly when trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo anticipates the AirPods 2 to be launched. This could set up Sonos to directly compete with Apple in the wearable industry, which the Cupertino-based company said netted it more than $10 billion in revenue in just a year’s time. Sonos sort of needs a hit, having lost a quarter of its value since its stock had an initial public offering last August. Stepping into the headphone game was a success for Apple, its wearables business now brings in more revenue than the iPod did during its hay-day.
Both Kuo and Gurman have predicted that the AirPods 2 will also be over-ear, completely reinventing the in-ear buds the company now sells. In separate reports, Kuo noted that Apple’s upcoming product would come with improved voice assistant integration through Siri, another similarity. Gurman has also hinted at a potential noise-cancelling feature that could vastly improve the AirPods’ sound quality.
We’ve gotten a glimpse of the pair of over-ear headphones that Apple is cooking up in a patent filing published by United States Patent and Trademark Office on January 8. That documentation stated they would be wireless and cancel ambient noise. This could be a sign that Apple will leverage the sound isolation technology it bought as part of its $3 billion acquisition of luxury audio company, Beats Music and Beats Electronics.
It looks like 2020 will be the year that these two tech giants face off in the high-end wireless headphones market. And if their price is comparable, Sonos has a shot at giving Apple a run for its money.