Apple purges rival products from store ahead of rumored AirPods Studio, new HomePod
Apple at the end of September ceased online sales of third-party headphones, earphones, speakers and other devices as the company prepares to debut a slate of new audio products like AirPods Studio and a more affordable HomePod.
Products from major manufacturers including Bose, Logitech, and Sonos disappeared from the online Apple Store late last month, while employees at brick-and-mortar outlets were recently told to remove third-party headphone and speaker items from store shelves, reports Bloomberg.
A quick check reveals no products from Bose or Logitech's Ultimate Ears brand for sale on Apple's website. Similarly, searches for "Sonos" deliver Apple alternatives like HomePod and the Beats Pill+ portable speaker.
Prior to the change, Apple was an important reseller for third-party audio device makers that jockeyed for space on Apple Store shelves. A spot in the tech giant's curated catalog granted access to well-heeled consumers looking for premium iPhone, iPad and Mac accessories.
As noted in the report, Apple sometimes discontinues sale of devices that might compete with new or future products. For example, the company stopped selling Fitbit wearables after the launch of Apple Watch in 2014.
More recently, Masimo's MightySat fingertip pulse oximeter was cut from the Apple Store lineup just prior to the launch of Apple Watch Series 6. Watch's tentpole feature for 2020, blood oxygen level tracking, is replicated by the MightSat. Apple is also in a legal fight with the medical technology company over alleged patent infringement claims.
Apple is rumored to release a batch of new audio equipment in the coming months. A so-called "AirPods Studio" over-the-ear headphone is expected to boast noise-cancelling technology, orientation awareness via U1 chip and premium sound reproduction. Supposedly leaked images of a "sport" version of the device surfaced in September, showing a sleek exterior and generous application of ergonomic mesh materials.
A new HomePod variant with smaller form factor and reduced price is also anticipated to debut.
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