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Report: Apple buys wireless headphone maker Wi-Gear

A report from 9to5 Mac cites unnamed source claiming Apple acquired Bluetooth headphone maker Wi-Gear as much as two months ago.

A view of the Wi-Gear iMuffs MB 210 wireless headphones. CNET Reviews

Apple might have acquired wireless headphone maker Wi-Gear, a report from 9to5 Mac claims.

Citing an unnamed source, 9to5 Mac claims Apple bought the San Francisco-based company two months ago for an undisclosed sum. Although neither Apple nor Wi-Gear have confirmed an acquisition, it's worth noting that the Wi-Gear site, while still live on the Internet, says that the company "has ceased operations and is no longer in business." It also says that it won't "respond to any inquiries."

Wi-Gear designed wireless headphones that connected to Apple's iPod and phones via Bluetooth. They offered the user full control over the music player at a distance of up to 40 feet. Mobile phone owners could also carry on conversations with the headphones, thanks to a built-in microphone.

To support its report, 9to5 Mac pointed to the LinkedIn page of Wi-Gear co-founder Michael Kim. He includes Wi-Gear as his past job, and lists "iOS Bluetooth Engineer at Apple Inc." as his current position. He claims he's been at Apple for two months. The LinkedIn page of Wi-Gear president and CEO, Mark Pundsack, still lists that job as his current position.

Wi-Gear's message on the company's Web site.
Wi-Gear's message on the company's Web site. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

The LinkedIn profiles of Wi-Gear's leaders don't necessarily indicate an acquisition. Kim's page especially can indicate that Apple did, in fact, acquire Wi-Gear, or simply that Wi-Gear went out of business, and he took a position with Apple after the company was closed. And until Apple makes an announcement to that end--it did not immediately respond to request for comment--there's no way to know for sure.

CNET's Reviews team took a look at the Wi-Gear iMuffs MB210 back in 2007. The device received three stars out of five, thanks to "good audio response." The headphones were criticized for "terrible call quality."

Updated on November 10, 2010 at 5:14 p.m. PT: Wi-Gear CEO confirmed to Barron's on Wednesday that it did not sell its operation to Apple. See more about the story here.