Bose is nearing the announcement of its latest flagship headphones and earbuds, according to leaked images published by MySmartPrice. Both products will reportedly be branded under a new “QuietComfort Ultra” name when they ship in the coming months. The QuietComfort Ultra headphones look like a mashup of the Noise Canceling Headphones 700 and QuietComfort 45; they lean more heavily on the latter’s overall design, but you can see some premium upgrades to the headband and ear pads.
The $400 Noise Canceling Headphones 700 were announced back in 2019. Technically, they’re still the company’s top-of-the-line product, so the timing is about right for a sequel. But the fact that Bose came back two years later and announced the QuietComfort 45 at a not much lower $330 was always a hint to me that the NC700s didn’t quite resonate with consumers as much as the company might’ve hoped. They had a completely overhauled look compared to Bose’s popular QuietComfort headphones, all-new touch gesture controls, and couldn’t fold down for compact storage.
It’s not clear to me, based on these leaked shots, whether the QuietComfort Ultra headphones solve the folding issue, but at least they stick closer to Bose’s design DNA — presumably with some noise cancellation and sound quality enhancements in tow. Makes sense as the obvious next step.
The QuietComfort Ultra earbuds strike me as a more curious case. Bose released the QuietComfort Earbuds II not even a full year ago, and we’re already getting a new model? I’m of the opinion that the QC Earbuds II still have the best overall active noise cancellation of any earbuds. But some customers have reported stability issues and disconnections with them, and Bose has never been able to deliver features like multipoint Bluetooth.
Perhaps the QuietComfort Ultra buds will borrow the best from the QC Earbuds II and make up for the weaknesses of their predecessors. They look largely identical, retaining the silicone stability bands that help keep the earbuds firmly in place. That mix of gray and black is a color option that the QC Earbuds II don’t come in, so these are definitely a new product.
Bose has enough brand cachet — this is the company synonymous with noise cancellation tech — that shoppers will inevitably be drawn to these new products whenever they’re officially introduced. But I’m curious what advancements the company has made to keep waging a strong fight against Sony’s WH-1000XM5, Apple’s AirPods Max, and other premium noise-canceling contenders. As for when we might know more, Bose has a recent pattern of announcing hardware in late summer / early fall, so it shouldn’t be too lengthy of a wait.