APPLE has denied it is plotting to shut down hugely popular headphones firm Beats By Dre.
The California audio company was bought by Apple in 2014 but recent rumours have suggested it will be retired after the first ever pair of Apple-branded headphones launches – potentially later this year.
However, 9To5Mac reports that this is not a strategy that Apple plans to pursue.
"The strategy is not one that should be viewed as being on the table for Apple," according to the tech site.
Apple has ploughed a lot of money into the Beats brand since acquiring it for roughly £2.5billion six years ago – the largest deal in the iPhone-maker's history.
Apple hardware has been incorporated into Beats products since 2016, including the Powerbeats3, Beats Solo 3, and BeatsX.
In recent years Apple has also begun to invest in its own audio tech, releasing several versions of its hugely popular earphones, the AirPods.
The firm is also heavily rumoured to be producing its first over-ear headphones, set for release some time in 2020.
On Monday, renowned tech leaker Jon Prosser claimed that Apple's eventual goal was to phase out Beats as it took headphone production into its own hands.
Eagle-eyed Apple fans also spotted that the company had begun heavily discounting Beats products on its website, in what some suggested was a move to clear stock.
However, an insider has told 9to5Mac that the reports are not true, and that Beats is safe for now.
Rumours of Apple's first pair of branded wireless headphones have rumbled for months.
The company has not officially confirmed it’s making any headphones, so take the rumours with a pinch of salt for now.
Apple has never released a pair of high end over-ear headphones, preferring to sell EarPods and AirPods and leaving the headphones market to Beats.
As Apple already owns Dre Beats, it’s possible that the design of the new headphones could look similar to them.
And if the headphones do exist, the are likely to be the high end, wireless, noise cancelling kind that focus on providing top sound quality.
It’s also likely that they would feature Siri integration too.
We may find out more around the time of Apple's next product launch event in September.
Why is Siri called Siri?
Here's the origin story of Apple's AI assistant…
- Although the virtual Siri assistant lives on every iPhone, it wasn't actually created by Apple.
- It was actually a spin-off project from the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center.
- The tech was eventually bought up by Apple for the iPhone, but Apple had no say over the name.
- No one has ever revealed who came up with Siri, but we do know why it was chosen.
- Siri co-creator Adam Cheyer said the name Siri was picked because it's "easy to remember, short to type, comfortable to pronounce, and a not-too-common human name".
- Writing in Forbes, he said: "Once Siri became the leading candidate, everyone on the team had their own favourite explanation of the meaning.
- "Dag Kittlaus, our Norwegian-American CEO, once considered using Siri as the name of his child and liked the Norse meaning 'beautiful woman who leads you to victory'.
- "For me, Siri, which means 'secret' in Swahili, was a tip of the hat to our pre-named days when we began as stealth-company.com.
- "I also liked the fact that it was the reverse of Iris, a software system I helped build as part of the CALO project which Siri was spun out of.
- "Some liked the resemblance to SRI, which was the research institute that ran the CALO project."
- In any case, no one at the team expected Apple to actually keep the name – but Siri lived on.
In other news, Apple is also rumoured to be preparing a pair of AirPods Lite.
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What new gadgets would you like to see from Apple this year? Let us know in the comments!
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