Back in March I wrote about how Bose’s much-anticipated new true wireless earbuds were delayed, with a Bose spokesperson telling me “product development has taken longer than anticipated” and been compounded by coronavirus issues. The Earbuds 500, which I previewed in a post and video last June, didn’t make their 2019 release and ended up being pushed until 2020. The Noise-Cancelling 700 Earbuds, the company’s answer to Apple’s AirPods Pro, were always scheduled for this year, but haven’t materialized yet, either. What appears to be an early version of the latter headphones, however, has mysteriously shown up on YouTube.
A Bose spokesperson declined to comment on the post. She said she’d share new product information as soon as she was able.
The box in the video, which was published last week, is stamped with the letters FPO. In the printing and graphics world, that usually indicates that the packaging graphics are a placeholder and not final (For Position Only). In fact, the words “Noise-Cancelling 700 Earbuds” don’t appear on the box, just “Bose QuietComfort Earbuds,” which may or may not mean that Bose is planning to use its QuietComfort branding. The interior of the case also has shiny plastic, which doesn’t look final (Bose usually goes with matte finishes) and the manual pages were blank. Read into all that what you will.
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The back of the box has some specs, but it’s unclear if they’re totally accurate. Battery life is rated at six hours and you get two extra charges from the charging case, which can be charged wirelessly or via USB-C. There’s both noise canceling and a transparency mode.
Josh Quill, the YouTube poster, didn’t seem to have much information about the earbuds. In responding to commenters, he said that he thought they might be coming out in December and that he didn’t know how much they would cost. He wouldn’t answer how he got the unit, but, as I said, it does look very similar to the renderings Bose has on its site (scroll down the page). His only other posted videos are of a museum in Torrance, California, and a closed shopping mall and movie theaters in northern California, all of which were posted in 2016.
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I do think both the Earbuds 500 and Noise-Cancelling 700 Earbuds — or whatever Bose ends up calling them — will arrive before the holiday buying season. But whether that’s in the next month or two or closer to Thanksgiving is hard to say. What’s for certain is that Bose has had a challenging past few months: The company closed 119 store locations across North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, replaced its CEO and apparently scrapped Bose AR, its fledgling augmented reality audio platform. Suffice it to say, it can’t afford any misfires, particularly when it comes to a hot category like true wireless earbuds.
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