Apple has launched its first headband headphones , a foray into a market where it will compete against rivals like Bose and Sony. The move also reflects its drive in the accessories segment to supplement revenue generated by its flagship iPhone .
The $ 550 headphones include wireless connectivity and noise cancellation, like many others on the market. They go on sale Tuesday and will begin hitting stores on Dec. 15, Apple said Tuesday. The company highlights superior audio quality and a 20-hour battery life in its ad.
The headphones work with Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant, and have physical side controls for music playback. They are available in several colors: space gray, silver, blue, green and pink.
Bloomberg previously reported on the development of new headphones in 2018 and on their specifications earlier this year. Apple stopped selling competing headphones and speakers in September, paving the way for consumers to focus on the new offering .
The company had planned to announce the introduction of the headphones earlier, but was delayed after the headband was found to be too tight in testing, Bloomberg reported in October.
Apple released its AirPods headphones in 2016 when it removed the headphone jack from the iPhone. The product drove the company’s wearable device sales, giving Apple a key growth engine beyond the iPhone.
The AirPods were updated with a new version in 2019 and the AirPods Pro with noise cancellation were released in October of that year. Apple also plans new AirPods for next year.
In its last fiscal year, Apple generated $ 31 billion in accessory sales , such as AirPods, Beats headphones and Apple Watch. The figure exceeds the sales of the Mac and iPad. The accessories business is critical for the company to be able to generate more revenue per user as people keep their iPhones longer.
Apple headphones and AirPods are part of a broader audio product strategy , which also includes the HomePod speaker and Beats headphones. Apple acquired Beats Electronics in 2014 for $ 3 billion and has been updating its hardware range despite competing with Apple-branded accessories.