A survey of headphone purchase intentions among UK consumers found that Apple is the preferred brand when it comes to true wireless in-ear headphones, with Bose and Sony both ahead of Beats …

Counterpoint asked consumers which brands they were considering for their next purchase, and Apple easily headed the list with 63% of respondents naming it as a potential purchase. Bose was named by 47% of consumers, followed by Sony at 40%. (Numbers add up to more than 100% as they represent all the brands consumers are considering, rather than the one brand they expect to buy.)

Counterpoint doesn’t give percentages for the remaining brands, but the top eight were rounded out by Beats, Samsung, Sennheiser, LG and Jabra. From the graph, it appears Beats isn’t far behind Sony, with somewhere around 38% of consumers listing it.

Whether preference for Apple would turn into an AirPods purchase is less certain, however. In terms of planned spend, the survey found that the majority of consumers were in the £51-150 range ($63-186). In the UK, the cheapest AirPods option is just outside this range, at £159.

Likelihood of AirPods purchase further declines when consumers were asked their most desired feature, which was Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

The interest in ANC over other features like auto volume adjustment, real-time translation, voice search, etc. is due to the multiple use cases for ANC in our daily life. It is helpful to create an uninterrupted environment when listening to music or an audiobook or a more distraction-free environment during work or study. ANC features in True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphones are also praised for providing better sound quality, but concern was also expressed about the potential for ANC to drain batteries faster.”

While half of all respondents wanted ANC, they were only prepared to pay a 20% premium for it. ANC is only available in the AirPods Pro, which retail in the UK for £249, two-thirds more than the upper end of the price-band for the majority of would-be buyers.

The report notes that Bose is a well-established audio brand, offering true wireless in-ear headphones in the form of the SoundSport Free, while the Sony WF-1000XM3 have been very well-received in reviews.

AirPods get a new feature in iOS 14: optimized charging to reduce battery aging.

Optimized Battery Charging Enabled: To reduce battery aging, AirPods learn from your daily charging routine so they can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use them.

What this means is that iOS 14 will learn how and when you charge your AirPods and wait until it thinks you’re about to take them off the charger to charge all of the way to 100% capacity.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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