Next-generation Powerbeats could come in true-wireless form and with the new Apple AirPods' features
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Beats by Dr. Dre started out as its own audio hardware company, but had been bought out by Apple some years previously. Since then, its products have been sold on a website run by the Cupertino company. Paradoxically, the premium hardware giant then proceeded to release its first pair of truly-wireless earbuds under its own brand: the AirPods, described by their maker as the "world's most popular headphone".
Now, however, it seems that Beats' own wireless earbuds are getting the chance to catch up. CNET has reported that the next generation of its sports earphones, the Powerbeats, will evolve into wireless earbuds in 2019. These buds, which may be called the Powerbeats 4, may also feature the H1 chip found in the new Apple AirPods.
CNET also reports that this may mean that the new Powerbeats may also gain the performance and pairing-speed upgrades associated with this chipset. This may be plausible, as the third generation of these earphones also featured the W1 chip found in the original AirPods. It could be argued that the Powerbeats are just a re-packaged, re-branded form of Apple hardware at this point.
However, if that is the case, why does the main company want its sub-brand competing with AirPods in this way? The answer may be found in the Apple/Beats pricing strategy. The Powerbeats 3 were sold at an original price of US$199.95, which made the $159 AirPods look almost reasonable in comparison. The CNET article also projects that the Powerbeats 4 could cost up to $250 at launch. On the other hand, the AirPods are only available in white - a trend that has persisted into its second generation - whereas the Beats alternative offers an improved range of color choices, as well as a more unique look.