When Apple announced its AirPods – completely wireless earbuds – back in September 2016 during the announcement of the iPhone 7, it also revealed its Beats line of headphones would also see two new releases that use the extremely powerful W1 chip demonstrated in the AirPods.

The chip enables the buds to take advantage of an advanced pairing method, nixing many of the delayed and spotty pairing responses provided by current bluetooth headphones, plus offering advanced battery life.

However, while the Powerbeats3 – available for $200 from Apple – were released largely without a hitch in October, the AirPods lagged behind, not seeing release until mid-December despite the promise of a fall release. On the other hand, the BeatsX were nowhere to be seen, before finally being delayed until February.

However, a report from iStockNow believes the release of the BeatsX earbuds could be imminent – arriving early this month. The article references recent activity on various online stores, including BestBuy’s US store. The website focuses on tracking stock and inventory across stores, and is well-placed to track changes in online shopfronts.

A BeatsX release will be welcomed by those hoping for a cheaper pair of earbuds that take advantage of Apple’s new chip. The buds are priced at $149 – slightly below the AirPods’ $159 price tag, and much below the Powerbeats3.

However, BeatsX aren’t the “totally wireless solution” promised by AirPods. The buds are connected by a wire between the pair, which goes around the back of the neck, like the majority of Bluetooth headphones currently on the market. Those that worry about losing a bud might welcome the BeatsX.

The BeatsX also differs from other Beats-branded, W1 chip-containing headphones like the Powerbeats3 and Solo3 over ear headphones, by charging and connecting via Lightning cables, just like the AirPods. The other headphones connect via microUSB.

BeatsX also employs Fast Fuel, which gives the user 2 hours of playback after just five minutes of charging. The buds are also magnetic so they stay together easily.

Don’t want to wait? Want headphones that are either cheaper or high-end? Read our headphones buyer’s guide to wireless headphones