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Apple AirPods with “Bluetooth-like” technology said to launch for iPhone 7

by Jacob Kleinman | September 6, 2016September 6, 2016 1:45 pm PST

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are expected to ship with a set of Lightning EarPods and a 3.5mm adapter to make up for the missing headphone jack. Now a new report claims Apple could also sell a high-end pair of truly wireless AirPods to accompany the upcoming smartphones.

The news comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a pretty good track record for predicting Apple products. A research note shared with AppleInsider predicts new wireless headphones that may not rely on the same Bluetooth technology currently used by the rest of the industry.

“Apple will likely have its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip and launch own-brand Bluetooth headphones targeting the high-end market, with Beats positioned in the midrange market,” Kuo writes.

There’s no mention of a price, but if these AirPods are high-end they probably won’t be cheap. Samsung’s truly wireless Gear IconX earbuds cost $200 and offer built-in fitness tracking. A simplified pair of wireless earbuds from startup Bragi are set to cost $149. Apple’s competing earbuds could be similarly priced.

Apple’s “Bluetooth-like” technology might also offer better battery life than the competition. It could even provide a better audio experience, which is a key issue for many people who still prefer regular wired headphones. The new chip will apparently come from long-time Apple supplier TSMC, according to Kuo.

Cupertino’s already issued trademarks for the AirPod brand, but we’re still not convinced the new earbuds will be ready to launch this year. With Apple set to make some big announcements at tomorrow’s iPhone 7 event, we may find out pretty soon.

Apple iPhone 7 event liveblog

AppleInsider Effah Hanie (Twitter)

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...