9to5Mac has managed to obtain code for an early build of Apple’s iOS 14 update, and it has revealed a preview (albeit a small one) of the company’s rumored over-ear headphones. Two icons for unreleased headphones have been discovered in the code; they’re the glyphs that Apple uses to indicate battery / volume levels for connected headphones in iOS and iPadOS. 9to5Mac found both light and dark icons, indicating that Apple will likely offer at least two color options for the headphones. AirPods and AirPods Pro continue to only be available in white.
Numerous Apple and Beats headphones have leaked this way — with icons appearing in beta (or, in this case, unreleased) versions of iOS — ahead of their official announcement. The AirPods Pro, PowerBeats Pro, and upcoming PowerBeats 4 have all shown up in software.
The actual icons don’t tell us a whole lot about the Apple headphones; as usual, there’s padding below the headband, and the ear pads look a bit smaller than the outer design of the headphones themselves. But other than that, there’s not much to assess. The headphones are expected to borrow features from AirPods, like the same seamless pairing process and an auto-pause function for when you remove them from your ears.
9to5Mac says its iOS 14 code is from December of last year, so Apple was still preparing for its premium, over-ear headphones fairly recently. As in years past, iOS 14 isn’t expected to be released until the fall. But Apple could launch the headphones sooner than that and just add the icons to an iOS 13 update. The high-end headphones have been rumored since 2018 but were reportedly pushed back due to “development challenges.”