iOS 16.4 RC: New headphones from Apple and daughter Beats discovered

Is Apple planning new audio devices from the AirPods series and from its Beats subsidiary soon? Leak experts have now discovered string references in the new iOS 16.4 pre-release released on Tuesday evening, which is the release candidate and could be officially released for all users in the coming days.

For example, Apple blog 9to5Mac has discovered details of a new Beats model called Studio Buds+. This appears to be an improved model of the popular compact totally wireless buds in the Studio Buds line. Due to the lower price, these are often used as an AirPods Pro alternative and come with ANC noise suppression.

The internal code name should be 8214. The devices would replace the predecessors released in 2021 and, in addition to Active Noise Cancellation, also master Apple’s audio sharing and fast device switching. These features are missing in the current models due to the lack of Apple’s H1 or W1 chips that are actually required for them. 9to5Mac briefly speculated that Apple could give the Buds+ its standard chips, but currently it looks more like Beats is using its own ICs for this. Further improvements probably relate to the quality of the ANC and the transparency mode, with which signals from outside can be interspersed.

The well-known has another reference leak in the iOS 16.4 RC version Twitter leaker aaronp613 spotted. Accordingly, there are references to two model numbers in the code, to which no device can currently be assigned. This is how AirPods with model number A3048 and an AirPods case with model number A2968 are referenced.

That’s interesting because there’s currently little evidence of new AirPods from Apple other than the AirPods Max 2, which isn’t expected until 2024. It is conceivable that Apple will offer a new charging case with USB-C instead of Lightning for the AirPods, but that would not in itself explain the model number of new AirPods. Apple’s most recent AirPods models were the AirPods Pro 2, released in September 2022.

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