Beats by Dre is launching a new pair of headphones today, a Bluetooth-powered wireless version of the Solo2 headset it introduced back in June this year. The wireless edition was tipped by an FCC document last week, but now it’s official, with a $299.95 price tag when it goes on sale later this month at Apple.com and select online retailers. Beats is also launching a new ‘Royal Edition’ variant of their wired Solo2, which includes new color options and a satin finish, priced at $199.95.
The new Beats products launching today are the first to debut since Apple officially closed its acquisition of the music hardware and software company back in August. New products, including the original Solo2, had been introduced after Apple announced its intent to acquire, but this new hardware is the first to launch after all the paperwork has been signed and approved.
The Solo2 Wireless features the same on-ear design of the Solo2, as well as the same color options, while Bluetooth is included for wire-free connectivity to your devices. The Solo model (all versions) currently lead the global headphone market, according to NPD group market research data, and Beats is looking to capitalize on that success with wireless control in order to continue to grow its Bluetooth headphone market share.
Solo2 Wireless should offer good sound, given that they have the same acoustic design as the wired Solo2, and they also provide control via buttons on the earcups for track skipping, pause and play, and volume up/down. The rechargeable internal battery should get you 12 hours of listening time, and if you happen to run out of juice, you can use the included cable, complete with inline mic and remote, to keep listening.
Apple’s ambitions for the Beats hardware lineup should be more clear after this move: Continue to grow marketshare and own the headphone accessory category. It’s a big blind spot in the company’s current “miscellaneous” bucket in terms of opportunity for supplemental revenue to bolster its main product lines, and Beats came on board with very strong market position to begin with.
It’s still unlikely that the Solo2 wasn’t already in the pipeline at the time of Apple’s acquisition, but it’ll be interesting to see if it bears any hallmarks of its new owners, and we’ll also be watching with considerable interest to see what happens once Beats’ product roadmap is entirely post-Apple.