Audio company Beats’ new BeatsX earbuds could be dropping sooner than expected, according to a report from 9to5Mac.
As 9to5Mac, MacRumors and others have noted, inventory for white and black BeatsX earbuds have been appearing as available online at various Apple Stores in New York. Through tracking sites like iStockNow, Apple Stores along the east coast in states like Pennsylvania and Maine have also updated the inventory. Best Buy quietly updated its listing for the BeatsX earbuds, replacing an older “Coming Soon” button with a new “Check Stores” one.
While you can’t yet add the earbuds to your checkout cart through either retailer, the updated inventory is a likely sign a BeatsX release date is coming soon for the earbuds. The compact wireless earbuds were originally slated for a fall 2016 release, but after a delay last winter, they’ve since had an unspecified February release date.
The BeatsX earbuds cost $149 and have a slate of features in line with other high-end wireless models. Notably, they’re one of only a few products to feature Apple’s W1 chip that allows for improved Bluetooth audio performance and broadcast range. Other devices featuring the W1 include the Beats Solo3 headphones, the athlete-targeted Powerbeats3 earbuds and Apple’s own AirPods.
The high profile and delay of the BeatsX rollout also echoes the release of Apple’s AirPod earbuds. Manufacturing delays pushed back the release of AirPods last year from October to the holiday season, but upon their release, Apple saw strong reviews and sales for the premium earbuds. Chinese manufacturers reportedly had to ramp up production in their factories and Apple CEO Tim Cook described them as a “runaway success” for the company.
With Apple’s purchase of Beats in 2014, it’s also worth tracking if the premium earbud market can hold both AirPods and BeatsX. Currently, Apple’s W1 chip is expected to only be featured on Apple and Beats products. As with the Powerbeats3 — and unlike the AirPods — the BeatsX are connected with a single cable that make them easier to carry around without getting lost. Beats also touts an eight-hour battery life for the earbuds versus five hours for the AirPods. Most notably, AirPods retail for $159 — only $10 more than the BeatsX.