Two products are released in relatively short order, one approximately twice the price of the other ($699 versus $1300-to-$1600, per the first post in this thread, the accuracy of which I'm not sure).
Regardless of what stage the HE-5LE is at, what does it matter? Do you not realize CanJam is coming up? For us, it's an important event, and the companies who exhibit there do occasionally try to launch products there. Such events (like, on a much, much larger scale, CES) are good stages on which to launch products, as people (and maybe the press) are paying attention.
At CES 2009, Sennheiser launched a $1400 headphone called the HD800. Guess what: They also launched products priced far lower--at the same time. Last year, they released three KLEER-using wireless full-sized headphones--at the same time. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic to make a point.)
Companies release products close together--or at the exact same time--quite regularly. We're not talking about two products in the same category priced the same, or near the same. These are two entirely different price points.
As for the audiophool jargon comment: Get your ears on them, sachu, then comment. We have no idea at what level these headphones will perform or not--and I'm betting you weren't given the inside scoop.
I won't argue with you on this Jude.. will only say Head-Direct is no Sennheiser in terms of quality and consistency.
I do plan to listen to them sometime..but seriously..why gold!? I do wish to see some rationalization for them to use gold traces. Perhaps they'll reveal more at CJ.