Next-gen Apple headphones could be as customizable as the Apple Watch

(Image credit: Curved)

Apple’s next-gen headphones could be coming before the end of the year and, if a new source is to be believed, will be one of the most customizable pairs of headphones the Cupertino company has ever made.

According to the source that spoke confidentially to Business Insider, the new Apple over-ear headphones that we’ve taken to calling the ‘AirPods X’ will apparently come in two different variations – a cheaper model and a more premium model – and both will have swappable earpads and bridge padding.

The reasoning behind the customizability, Business Insider believes, is to give the headphones more of an Apple Watch-style feel that allows users to mix and match parts to make the headphones reflect their personal preferences. 

Apparently the prototypes of the headphones have a retro-inspired look to them, with oval-shaped earcups and metal arms that connect the cups to the bridge. The interchangeable padding is magnetized to allow for easy swapping, allowing users to switch from cheaper materials to something more premium, like leather, down the road.

Our knee-jerk reaction to the news is that it fits what we had thought was an FCC filing for the Powerbeats Pro 2 on April 15. The filing mentioned two new models and would fit the launch window that Business Insider’s source described.

The only thing that’s throwing us is that the logo Apple filed in the FCC report is a Beats logo, and these over-ears are supposed to be one of the first Apple will put its name on instead of using the Beats branding. 

Obviously there’s room for mistakes in our interpretation of the filing, or in thinking that Apple has to slap its label on the headphones instead of making them part of the Beats lineup, so there’s a lot of wiggle room here.

So how will we know what’s what? Well, the FCC filing will have pictures added on October 12, 2020, so we’ll know more then.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.