During today’s hardware event, Amazon made a pretty big deal about the fact that its brand new $129.99 Echo Buds incorporate Bose technology to achieve their active noise reduction and cut down on surrounding noise. A Bose spokesperson confirmed that this is the first time its NR technology has ever been built into another company’s headphones; Amazon’s companion app for the earbuds specifically mentions “Bose ANR” in several places.
But the same spokesperson also made it clear that Bose has something even better in the works. The upcoming Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700, set for release sometime in 2020, will offer proper noise cancellation — as the name suggests — and not just reduction.
“Amazon is using Bose Active Noise Reduction in the Echo Buds, which is different than Bose Active Noise-Cancellation. The performance target for Echo Buds was set by Amazon, and the Bose active noise-reduction system used to achieve that target minimizes background noise as you move throughout your day,” Bose’s spokesperson told The Verge by email.
“Bose’s noise cancelling headphones, like the QC35IIs and the Bose Noise-Cancelling [Headphones] 700, use proprietary active noise-cancellation technology — exclusive to Bose — to dramatically decrease the full-spectrum of noise in everyday places, as well as much harsher, challenging environments, like planes or city subways. Bose’s active noise-cancellation technology is only available in Bose headphones. It uses a combination of Bose active and passive noise-cancelling technologies, microphones, digital signal processing, and an acoustic design and electronics package to deliver unrivaled performance.”
Amazon’s page for the Echo Buds mentions Bose’s noise reduction technology multiple times.
That’s a lot of words, but the takeaway is pretty simple: Bose is willing to help Amazon make some pretty good earbuds — I’m seeing a lot of positive first impressions for the Echo Buds — but it’s saving the very best for its own products. “The Bose Earbuds 700 are still on track for launch next year, will use proprietary Bose active noise-cancellation, and will have better performance than the Echo Buds,” said Bose’s spokesperson.
Bose’s website offers only a sketch of the upcoming Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700.
I asked Bose if working with Amazon on the Echo Buds might’ve led the company to push off its own next-generation true wireless earbuds. The company showed a non-working sample of its also-forthcoming Earbuds 500 to journalists a few months ago when introducing the Noise Canceling Headphones 700, but said the higher-end NC pair wouldn’t be ready until next year.
“Their launch timing has nothing to do with Echo Buds, because they are truly two different products, with two different targets for performance, and as a result, two very different levels of effectiveness,” the Bose spokesperson said.
But I’ll go out on a limb and predict you’ll be paying a fair bit more than $129.99 for Bose’s higher level of effectiveness once the Earbuds 700 hit stores.