Rumor: 'AirPods' trademark filings point to Apple wireless headphones

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
Multiple international trademark applications for an "AIRPODS" audio accessory, filed by what appears to be a shell company, suggest Apple might be working to bring a wireless version of its EarPods headphones to market.




A company based out of Delaware named Entertainment in Flight, LLC, filed the AIRPODS (potentially written as "AirPods") trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 22, weeks after setting up shop at the Corporation Trust Center, reports MacRumors. The firm does not appear to be directly tied to Apple, though its recent incorporation and subsequent lack of activity leave room for speculation.

Apple's tactic of setting up shell corporations to keep secret projects out of the public eye is well documented. Ahead of iPad's launch, for example, Apple registered the acronym I.P.A.D. under British dummy corporation "IP Application Development" (IPAD Ltd.).

As for AirPods, Entertainment in Flight designated the mark under International Trademark Class 9, a wide-ranging category covering electronics and scientific apparatus. The filing narrows down registration to U.S. classes 021, 023, 026, 036, 038, noting products and goods as:
Audio components and accessories; sound recording and reproducing apparatus; digital video recorders and players; remote control apparatus; audio speakers; earphones, headphones; microphones; voice recording and recognition apparatus; radios, radio transmitters, and receivers; handheld digital electronic devices and software related thereto; wireless communication devices for voice, data or image transmission; electrical and electronic connectors, couplers, wires, cables, chargers, docks, docking stations, interfaces, and adapters for use with all of the aforesaid goods
The document cites a Jamaican trademark application from March as AirPods' priority date. Jamaica is one of Apple's favorite jurisdictions in which to file, as evidenced by recent applications for "iWatch" and "Thunderbolt." Lending further credence to the theory are Entertainment in Flight's international AirPods applications which, as MacRumors notes, were handled by law firms known to do similar business with Apple.

With Apple Watch, wireless audio has taken on a more significant role in Apple's product lineup. The company already owns multiple patents for potential hardware iterations, including noise canceling and bone conduction technology, but has yet to bring a wireless headset to market.

While Apple subsidiary Beats fields a variety of Bluetooth-enabled headphones, Apple made it clear when it bought the company that there would be no hardware commingling. The iPhone maker currently markets two headphone versions in the free-with-purchase EarPods and dual-driver In-ear Headphones, leaving room for a wireless AirPods option.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    It would be nice if these came with future versions of Apple Watches at least
  • Reply 2 of 15
    kent909kent909 Posts: 708member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Goodbye audio jack on iPhone.

     

    All this is pointing to a foldable iPhone in the future.

     

    Thats why Apple is constantly trying to make their phones thinner.

     

    You mean the new iFlipPhone

  • Reply 3 of 15
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member

    The Retina Mac Book should have been headphone jack free, but clearly Apple was not ready to bite that bullet. I still look for the free headphones that come with the phones to be wired, but Apple to change to a lightning connector instead. I'd really like to see a Lightning connector on the rMB as well to at least add an additional port that does something else besides provide audio. 

     

    This seems more like the In-Ear Headphones, as an additional purchase option. I don't see Apple giving bluetooth headphones away for free, and not all customers even want to use wireless headphones. But I can see them giving away Lightning earbuds, which prevent them from being used on competitors products. The white earbuds are at least as identifiable with Apple as the logo itself.

  • Reply 4 of 15
    leighrleighr Posts: 176member
  • Reply 5 of 15
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Nice, one less entry point for water.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Apple branded?
    Are Apple earbuds gonna be the only audio hardware evolving from now on?

    Where does Beats go from here?

    Is it me or has Beats headphones slowed almost to a halt since Apple's purchase?
    Didn't Beats have over %50 of the premium headphone market? This is too good to throw away.

    Anyways I'm digressing there.
  • Reply 7 of 15

    Genuinely hope this is true. I like the sound of music through EarPods, but I don't like the wires. I currently use a pair of Sennheisers that I got on sale. They sound okay but a bit muddy. (They were decently cheap) I tried a pair of big Sony ones, but the bass was so heavy and they're awfully hot in the summer. And unfortunately Beats despite Apple's attempts to class up the brand, is still something that makes you look like a teenager who's trying to destroy their ears. 

  • Reply 8 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Goodbye audio jack on iPhone.

     

    All this is pointing to a foldable iPhone in the future.

     

    Thats why Apple is constantly trying to make their phones thinner.




    Why foldable? I see Apple consistently moving away from mechanical parts, as they are mostly prone to breaking. Going thinner could mean all sorts of things, not only introducing a hinge on the complete device. Could mean the iRing is the Heart and some foldable sheet, riding sheet, glasses, projector or similar, would be its display. When you think back to the sunflower iMac, I liked the idea of separating, what has very different requirements (flat screen as opposed to bulky innards plus drive). When you think about it from a purely functional perspective, the current iPhone serves the following purposes:

    - output device (display, and with the taptic engine increasingly vibration, sound)

    - input device (multitouch and voice)

    Except for display and multitouch this could come from any iRing, AppleWatch whatever, that leaves display and input.

    So you actually might separate the display from the rest, and/or move towards alternative inout methods, such as voice, ultimately having separate devices, each for it's own core purpose. The AppleWatch is a very good example, how you can already shift some of the phone functions to a different device, and by this, sometimes, make it even a superior experience when compared to the phone.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Apple just sent me a set of these, arrived today, charging now.

     

    Thank you Apple for the reward, I've sold and supported thousands of iPhones.

     

  • Reply 10 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,157member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Goodbye audio jack on iPhone.

    All this is pointing to a foldable iPhone in the future.

    Thats why Apple is constantly trying to make their phones thinner.

    Folding ... nah ... The new ?Ring rumor is the clue ... the ring will project a virtual phone. ;)
  • Reply 11 of 15
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    Folding ... nah ... The new ?Ring rumor is the clue ... the ring will project a virtual phone. ;)
    And Siri. With those two things alone there's very little reason for a display. It's a very Star Trek solution to the problem. "Her" did a pretty good job of dispensing with the display as well. It's fairly clear Apple is moving away from the display as the primary interface. To the extent a display is occasionally needed, then displays built into sunglasses, or projectors into rings as you allude to.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,157member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    And Siri. With those two things alone there's very little reason for a display. It's a very Star Trek solution to the problem. "Her" did a pretty good job of dispensing with the display as well. It's fairly clear Apple is moving away from the display as the primary interface. To the extent a display is occasionally needed, then displays built into sunglasses, or projectors into rings as you allude to.

    The display would be required for the other end of the Face Time call though :)
  • Reply 13 of 15
    What if it's actually talking about a new iPod with no internal storage? One that only streams Apple Music wirelessly? That would fit under the description above for "sound recording and reproducing apparatus" or "handheld digital electronic devices".
  • Reply 14 of 15
    My guess... Bluetooth earbuds with a 'always-listening' microphone that longs to hear the phrase 'Hey-Siri'... ;-)
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