Recent speculation about new Apple audio products, such as the much-anticipated AirPods Studio over-ear headphones or a cheaper HomePod, is looking increasingly prophetic, because Apple has been making room for something in that section of its stores.
As Bloomberg reports, Apple has removed headphones and speakers from Bose, Ultimate Ears, Sonos and others from its online store, and searches for many such brands now come up empty. In bricks-and-mortar stores, meanwhile, employees have been instructed to remove a similar raft of products from the shelves.
According to MacRumors, Apple's online store is an important sales channel for accessory manufacturers, giving them access to the wealthy target group of iPhone and Mac users. Apple reportedly uses the leverage from this to ask manufacturers to offer some products as exclusives for its online store, which is why Mophie, Belkin and Scosche sell some of their charging mats through Apple and not, for example, through Amazon.
If this latest move seems like a shabby way to treat a group of firms who were formerly valued partners, it's worth noting that the iPhone manufacturer has never been particularly squeamish in this regard: before 2014, you could buy Nike and Jawbone products through Apple channels, but the release of the Apple Watch saw all fitness trackers without an apple on them banished from the store.
If you can't wait until the new audio kit arrives, browse our guide to the best AirPods deals for bargains on the current range.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.