Apple launches $ 550 on-ear headphones in crowded market

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Apple launched its first over-ear headphones, entering a competitive market dominated by competitors such as Bose and Sony, and expand its push towards accessories to complement the revenue generated by its signature iPhone.

The expensive $ 550 headphones include wireless pairing and noise canceling, like many on the market. They go on sale Tuesday and start arriving on December 15th. Apple said on its website. The company touted superior audio quality, ear cups that swivel and pivot independently, and 20 hours of battery life in its announcement.

The headphones work with Apple’s voice-activated Siri digital assistant and have a physical side control called Digital Crown, the same mechanism on the Apple Watch, to control music playback. The headphones are available in several colors: space gray, silver, blue, green and pink.

At $ 550, the headphones are some of the most expensive on the market, rivaling more expensive offerings from Sony, Sennheiser, and Dolby. The new model comes about five years after Apple acquired the headphone division of Beats by Dre, which puts Apple in a position to compete with its own subsidiary. The most premium Beats headphones, the Beats Pro, cost $ 150 less than Apple’s new offering.

The Airpods Max have multiple microphones and use what Apple calls computer audio to deliver its sound quality. The headphones come in a leather case and charge via the iPhone’s Lightning connector.

Bloomberg previously reported on the development of the new helmet in 2018 and the features earlier this year. Apple stopped selling rival headphones and speakers from manufacturers like Bose and Sonos, in September, allowing consumers to focus on the new offering. Apple aimed to announce the headphones earlier, but that was delayed after the headband was deemed too tight in testing, Bloomberg reported in October.

Apple launched its wireless AirPods headphones in 2016 by removing the headphone jack from the iPhone. The product was a surprise hit and fueled the company’s portable device sales, giving Apple a key growth engine beyond the iPhone. AirPods were updated in 2019 and upgraded AirPods Pro with noise cancellation were released in October of this year. Apple is also planning new AirPods for next year.

In its most recent fiscal year, Apple generated $ 31 billion in accessory sales, including AirPods, Beats headphones, and the Apple Watch. It’s more than the Mac and the iPad. The accessories business is playing a huge role in the company’s efforts to generate more revenue per user as people keep their iPhones longer.

Apple also announced on Tuesday that its $ 9.99 per month Fitness + training service launches on December 14. Apple shares were little changed on Tuesday morning in New York.

More to read absolutely technological coverage of Fortune:

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