Apple has been removing third-party audio gear from its online and brick-and-mortar stores, suggesting that the launch of its own branded alternatives could be just around the corner.
The tech giant has for a long time offered audio goods from the likes of Sonos, Bose, and Logitech, but their headphones and speakers are no longer available through Apple’s shopping channels, Bloomberg reported on Monday, October 5.
Searches in Apple’s online store for third-party audio gear that was previously available now surface the message: “The product you’re looking for is no longer available on apple.com.,” along with a link pointing shoppers to “similar products.”
The removal of the items suggests the company could be close to announcing its first pair of Apple-branded over-ear headphones, rumored to be called AirPods Studio. A more compact version of its HomePod smart speaker is also thought to be in the works.
Rumors are rife about what the AirPods Studio headphones might look like, with well-known leaker Jon Prosser suggesting earlier this year they’ll be similar to Beats over-ears or the Bose 700 cans. Other reports have suggested they could feature a modular design where you’ll be able to personalize the product with swappable ear pads and headband paddings.
It’s also suggested that the Apple headphones could come in two versions, with one of them featuring a high-end leather finish, and the other sporting lighter, breathable materials with small perforations, aimed at fitness enthusiasts.
As for the smaller HomePod smart speaker, it would be little surprise to see the launch of such a product considering the success of similar items such as Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Mini speakers.
Apple’s decision to purge its shopping channels of rival audio gear will come as a major blow for affected companies who up to now had been enjoying enviable exposure via the tech firm’s online and physical stores.
Digital Trends has reached out to Apple for more information on its decision to remove third-party audio goods from its online and physical stores and we will update this article when we hear back.