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Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 06:05 am PT (09:05 am ET)

Apple acquires Bluetooth iOS headphone maker Wi-Gear - rumor

Apple is rumored to have bought Wi-Gear, a third-party accessory maker that has sold wireless Bluetooth headphones and adapters for iPhones and iPods.

The alleged acquisition reportedly took place about two months ago. Wi-Gear, maker of products like iMuffs, recently announced on its website it has "ceased operations and is no longer in business."

The company's co-founder, Michael Kim, has since become an Apple employee, taking the role of iOS Bluetooth Engineer, according to his Linkedin profile. Previously, he worked as a project manager and lead electrical engineer at Wi-Gear Inc.

However, the profile for Wi-Gear President and CEO Mark Pundsack has not been updated, and still states that he is with the now-defunct company.

Wi-Gear's products included Bluetooth wireless headphones, and adapters for iPods and iPhones that do not come with integrated Bluetooth 2.0 support. The company specialized in making hardware for iOS devices.

Apple's rumored acquisition has led to speculation that Apple could create its own line of wireless headphones that would work with future iPhones and iPods.

Wi-Gear


Apple introduced its own Bluetooth headset alongside the original iPhone in 2007. The device cost $129 and was bundled with a Bluetooth travel cable and dual dock that could charge both the iPhone and headset.

A year later, Apple dropped the price of the headset to $99, but also stopped including the dual dock. The product was eventually discontinued in March of 2009.

Of course, the company still bundles its own wired headphones with iPods and iPhones, and also sells a set of $79 premium In-Ear Headphones for users looking to upgrade. But those products are not wireless Bluetooth, like the products Wi-Gear made.