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Samsung announced an intriguing pair of wireless earbuds called the Gear IconX on Tuesday.
They’re completely wireless — nothing attaches the earbuds to your phone or each other. Instead, they’re entirely Bluetooth.
Instead of plugging them in to charge, they come with a carrying case that charges the individual earbuds. Users plug in the case, like this:
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Sporting a 90 minute battery life, the $199 earbuds, which have some health monitoring features, could be a surprise hit when they go on sale in the third quarter.
It wouldn’t surprise me if many people buy them to use with the iPhone 7. If there’s one rumor that’s almost certainly true about the iPhone 7, it’s that it will lack a headphone jack — forcing users to plug in through the charging “Lightning” port or use wireless headphones.
In fact, Samsung’s Gear IconX turns out to be very similar to a set of Apple wireless earbuds rumored to be currently in development.
In January, reliable Apple blogger Mark Gurman reported on the development of a set of Apple Bluetooth earphones that could launch alongside the iPhone 7.
The new earphones are said to be completely wireless, which is to say that they do not even have a cable connecting the left and right ear pieces…
The latest version of the new wireless Apple/Beats headphones in development do not include any ports for charging, in contrast to the mini-USB port on the current wireless Beats. Instead, the new headphones are likely to come with a carrying case that doubles as a rechargeable battery to juice up the headphones when they are not in use.
That sounds a lot like the Samsung Gear IconX — and other products from Motorola and Bragi that are exploring a similar concept. Gurman also notes that battery life could be a concern for the Apple project — and Samsung’s version manages only 90 minutes.
Still, if Apple is releasing a headphone jack-free iPhone, it will need to support it with new compatible headphones. Gurman doesn’t think that IconX-style headphones will be included in-box — it’s more likely that Apple will include free Lightning Earpods — but with the acquisition of Beats, it’s almost guaranteed that Apple is preparing some very cool headphone hardware.
Too bad Samsung already beat them to the announcement.
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