Apple has joined Sonos in raising the price of its audio products, though for now the increase seems to have only hit the Beats Flex wireless earphones. Watch out though, as more price hikes could be coming soon.
On the official store page in the US, UK and Australia, the Beats Flex earphones now sell for $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$99.95 rather than their original pricing of $49.99 / £49.99 / AU$79.95. The increase is most likely due to part shortages that have impacted technology manufacturing since Covid-19 pandemic restrictions became widespread in mid-2020.
We had a scan through Apple’s other audio devices and so far no others seem to have been affected at the time of writing. However, if you’ve been meaning to nab a pair of Beats or AirPods you might want to act before other models receive a similar increase.
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If you’re desperate for a pair of Beats Flex earphones, you don’t need to panic too much right now. So far it looks like the price increase has only taken effect on Apple’s official store page, as we’ve had luck finding the buds at their lower price from third-party vendors.
You might want to act fast on any purchases, though, as we can’t say for certain that they’ll stay at their cheaper price for much longer. We've reached out to Apple to find out more about the situation, we will update this page if we hear anything back.
Analysis: why the price hike?
As we mentioned above, the price increase is most likely due to chip shortages that have plagued the tech industry for the past year and a half. If you've struggled to grab an Xbox Series X or PS5 game console (or a slew of other products) you'll already know how annoying these supply chain woes can be.
The shortages began in 2020, when regional Covid-19 restrictions squeezed the industry at both ends. Factories had to close or shrink their workforce to prevent the spread of the virus – causing slower production rates – while a greater reliance on remote working hardware and 'inside' entertainment devices caused sales to boom.
This has meant certain parts used in lots of devices aren't in ready supply anymore. It looks like Apple (and Sonos) are tackling the shortages by increasing prices – most likely because component shortages have caused manufacturing costs to rise.
We aren't a fan of price increases, especially as the devices aren't getting any new features; Apple, Sonos, and others obviously have the power to change prices as they wish, though.
- Read our guide to the best budget wireless earbuds in 2021
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.