“Apple Inc.’s AirPods earphones have been a surprise hit,” Mark Gurman and Debby Wu report for Bloomberg. “Now, the company is planning a push into the high end of the market.”

MacDailyNews Take: Who was surprised? We weren’t.

“The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on noise-canceling, over-ear headphones that rival headsets from market leaders like Bose and even the company’s own Beats by Dre brand, according to people familiar with the product’s development,” Gurman and Wu report. “The company plans to launch the headphones as early as the end of this year, but has faced development challenges that might push back the release, the people said.”

“The latest plans call for headphones targeting the high-end of the market, replicating Apple’s approach with the $349 HomePod speaker, released earlier this year,” Gurman and Wu report. “In addition to noise-canceling capabilities, Apple plans to include similar wireless pairing functionality to the AirPods.”

“So far, the AirPods have been a key driver of newfound success for Apple’s Other Products segment,” Gurman and Wu report. “The category, which includes AirPods, Beats headphones, the Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPad accessories, generated more than $5 billion in revenue for the first time in the company’s fiscal first quarter, representing 36 percent year-over-year growth. Within that category, wearable product sales, which include the Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, surged 70 percent last year, Apple said on a recent earnings call.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s safe to say that Apple’s $3 billion Beats acquisition has easily paid for itself many times over.

As we wrote last month, “With HomePod as evidence, we believe Apple can deliver the headphones that are of higher quality than competitors at their price point. Factor in the seamlessness of the Apple W2 chip-equippend AirPods and these new Apple headphones will be hot sellers.”

We love our Apple AirPods, but there are times when we long for Apple AirCans instead.

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple developing high-end over-ear headphones as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality – February 26, 2018
Apple plans upgrades to popular AirPods wireless earbuds – February 22, 2018