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AirPods Studio vs Bose QC35 II (2021): Can Apple’s Rumored Over-Ear Headphones Compare?

Rumors say that Apple is looking to make a splash in the noise-canceling headphones scene with its so-called AirPods Studio. Based on their expected price point, they’re going toe-to-toe with the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

It goes without saying that nothing’s official yet. But that doesn’t stop rumors about the Cupertino brand’s first over-ear from headphones making the rounds online, of course. At that, we compile their purported specs and features and compare them to Bose’s established pair.

AirPods Studio vs Bose QC35 II Comparison Chart

ModelAirPods StudioBose QuietComfort 35 II
 n/aAmazon product
Price$349Amazon product
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)YesYes
Transparency ModeYesNo
Battery Lifen/aUp to 20 hours
Quick Chargingn/a15 minutes for up to 2.5 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0 (or newer)Bluetooth 4.1, 3.5mm-to-2.5mm cable
ControlsTouch, VoicePhysical, Voice
Water Resistancen/aNo
Release Date20202017
ColorsWhite, BlackSilver, Rose Gold, Black


The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the same as the QuietComfort 35 across the board, save for a new Action button on the left ear cup.

AirPods Studio vs Bose QC35 II Design
The AirPods Studio will have a “retro look” with a touch of Apple’s design, which can be seen in this mock-up. (Image credit: Curved)

The word in town is Apple is going with a retro design for the AirPods Studio. They’ll also be fitted with metal arms for their headband, meaning they’ll be pretty durable.

To top it all off, they’re said to be modular like the Apple Watch, which have customizable bands and cases. You might be able to change the ear cups and headband padding if it turns out to be true. There’ll be at least two kinds of materials you can switch between for their ear pads: leather and a lighter, more breathable fabric. The latter is believed to be targeted at fitness-focused individuals.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are relatively bulky compared to their sleek and elegant sibling the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Make no mistake, they’re still a sight for sore eyes. From build quality to design, they have that premium and polished feel.

If history is anything to go by, the AirPods Studio will be available only in white. However, there’s a chance they’ll come in black too, according to leaks. As everybody knows by now, the color options for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are black, silver, and rose gold.

Sound Quality

The AirPods Studio may have studio-quality audio, if their name is any indication.

AirPods Studio vs Bose QC 35 II Sound Quality
In terms of audio, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (in photo) aren’t the best, but they certainly aren’t the worst either.

Audiophiles have never turned to the AirPods line to get their fix, but while their audio quality is still up in the air, the AirPods Studio could have studio-quality sound. That’s only judging from their name, though.

If Apple does intend to go that route, it would be nice to see the cans have the option to be hardwired. After all, Bluetooth typically compresses audio. At the very least, something along the lines of aptX HD, which is a high-definition wireless codec, is more or less necessary here if the headphones can only be used wirelessly.

One piece of good news is the AirPods Studio are rumored to have a custom equalizer when paired with an iOS or macOS device. It’s expected to have low-, medium-, and high-frequency adjustments available.

What’s more, they could have “spatial audio.” During the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced that the AirPods Pro will be getting a new feature that simulates surround sound. It’s not a stretch to believe this would also be coming over to the AirPods Studio. At that, this could just be what it needs to blow competitors such as Bose out of the water.

Meanwhile, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II have decent resolution and an average sound stage. Overall, the sound is balanced with a slightly higher emphasis on the mid-bass. Long story short, they won’t win awards on this front, but they’re far from lagging behind the competition.

Noise Cancellation

Similar to the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Studio will feature active noise cancellation or ANC and Transparency mode.

AirPods Studio vs Bose QC 35 II Noise Cancellation
The Bose name is synonymous with noise canceling, and the QuietComfort 35 II (in photo) deliver in that regard.

The AirPods Pro have decent active noise cancellation or ANC, and being over-ear headphones and all, the AirPods Studio will likely build on that with better isolation. That gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect. Moreover, the cans are also said to have Transparency mode, which comes as no surprise.

On the other hand, Bose is arguably the company that made noise canceling mainstream. In short, the QuietComfort 35 II are among the top performers when it comes to ANC. You can feel yourself isolated from the world with them on.

Of course, there’s no way to compare the two here yet. But compared to the AirPods Pro, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II do a slightly better job. That still says a lot for Apple’s true wireless earbuds, considering how vastly different their form factors are.

Battery and Additional Features

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are rated to last up to 20 hours, and the AirPods Studio could beat that.

AirPods Studio vs Bose QC 35 II Battery and Additional Features
The AirPods Studio are said to have head and neck detection and automatic audio channel routing. (Image credit: Curved)

It’s still unclear how long the AirPods Studio will last on a single charge, and the battery life of the AirPods Pro isn’t something we can base this on. That’s because wireless headphones typically last longer than their earbud counterparts.

At any rate, Apple is rumored to cram an H1 chip or something newer into the AirPods Studio. This processor doesn’t just give the AirPods Pro their ability for fast pairing times, but it also makes them power efficient. That could mean that the upcoming cans may have a longer battery life than your average wireless headphones.

The battery life on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is par for the course. They can last up to 20 hours per charge and support quick charging, giving you about 2.5 hours in 15 minutes.

As for features, the AirPods Studio could come out on top here. According to rumors, they’ll have head and neck detection. That’ll supposedly let them automatically pause when you’re resting them around your neck and resume when you put them on your head. In addition, they could tell your left ear from your right and automatically route audio channels, meaning there’s no wrong way to put them.


The AirPods Studio just sound too good to pass up.

Amazon product

Between the two, we’ll have to go with the AirPods Studio. That’s if their rumored $349 price point proves to be true. Assuming it is, the price difference is too narrow (after the price drop of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II), while the feature gap between them is wide. That’s not surprising to see since Bose’s headphones are a few years older.

Apple is said to release the AirPods Studio sometime in September, but nothing’s set in stone yet. Needless to say, the headphones were a no-show at WWDC 2020, which is where they were first rumored to be unveiled.


📌 Which is better, the AirPods Studio or Bose QuietComfort 35 II?

In terms of features, the AirPods Studio are expected to be better than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Besides active noise cancellation or ANC, they have head and neck detection and automatic audio channel routing, among other things. It’s still unclear which one is better when it comes to sound quality.

📌 Are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II worth it?

Yes, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are still worth getting, even though they are a couple of years old. They also got a price drop not too long ago.

📌 Does Apple make black AirPods?

No, but that could change soon. Apple is rumored to launch the AirPods Studios not only in white but also in black, according to leaks.

📌 When is the release date of the AirPods Studio?

Rumor has it the release date of the AirPods Studio will be sometime in September. Initially, they were believed to be unveiled during WWDC 2020, but that didn’t pan out.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.