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Apple rumored to launch new AirPods Pro headphones at end of October

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The wireless earbuds battle rages on

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Apple AirPods in front of Audeze MX4 Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a new pair of noise-cancelling AirPods. Bloomberg originally reported they would arrive in 2019, and then revised that estimate to 2020 earlier this year. Now China Economic Daily reports that Apple’s noise-cancelling AirPods could arrive as the “AirPods Pro” later this month.

The AirPods Pro are said to include a new metal design to support noise cancellation, and may be priced as high as $260. Previous reports have also suggested these new AirPods will include water resistance for gym or vacation use.

Reports of AirPods Pro arriving in late October come just days after a new AirPods design was discovered in an iOS 13.2 beta. 9to5Mac discovered a glyph that suggests Apple could be about to introduce AirPods that look very similar to its old in-ear headphones. The site also discovered a new animation in iOS 13.2 that teaches iPhone users how to adjust noise cancellation on the new AirPods. Images also appeared on SlashLeaks last month that look similar to the glyph found in iOS 13.2.

Alleged AirPods prototype

The references to new AirPods found in iOS 13.2 make it far more likely we’ll see these new AirPods soon. There have been rumors of a potential Apple event in October, but as we approach the end of the month that’s looking less likely. If Apple is ready to introduce new AirPods Pro, manufacturing could hold up wide availability. Apple originally introduced its AirPods in December 2016, but they were very difficult to purchase until months later.

If Apple’s AirPods Pro debut in 2019, they’ll go up against competition from Amazon, Microsoft, and more. Amazon is launching its $129 Echo Buds later this month, complete with Bose technology for noise reduction. Microsoft is also launching its $249 Surface Earbuds “later this year,” with tap and swipe gestures to control music and Office 365 apps. Google is also planning to release its second-generation Pixel Buds in the spring priced at $179. It’s clear that the next Big Tech battleground is now your ears.

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