Apple is developing revamped versions of its AirPods and AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds, Bloomberg reports, the first of which could be announced as early as next year. Both will reportedly feature new designs, as well as upgraded wireless chips. Bloomberg also notes that Apple’s long-rumored over-ear headphones are still in development, and that the company has internally discussed plans to introduce a third HomePod speaker to sit between the $299 HomePod and the newly-announced $99 HomePod mini.
According to the report, Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro could ditch the stem that has been a hallmark of the AirPods’ design since their introduction in 2016. They’ll reportedly still feature noise-cancellation, but with a design that’s more similar to the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus, or Google’s Pixel Buds. Fitting everything into a smaller housing has been a challenge for the company, Bloomberg reports, meaning this design could change.
The entry-level AirPods, meanwhile, will reportedly adopt elements of the AirPods Pro’s design, with a shorter stem and replaceable ear-tips. Better battery life is also said to be on the way. The third-generation earbuds, which follow the second-gen model from March 2019, could be announced as early as the first half of next year, Bloomberg notes.
Alongside the new true wireless earbuds, Bloomberg says Apple’s over-ear headphones are still in development. The design has reportedly changed to reduce the side of the external touch pads, as well as the amount of swappable parts it has (the replaceable ear pads may remain, but not the headband). The headphones were reportedly due to go into production a few weeks ago, but this had to be pushed back due to a problem with the headband being too tight.
Finally, Bloomberg also reports that Apple has internally discussed adding a third HomePod speaker to its lineup. However, development is thought to be in its early stages, and the speaker may not end up being released.
Almost a year on from the launch of the AirPods Pro, and a year and a half after the second-gen AirPods, it makes sense that Apple is planning upgraded models. The new AirPods sound like they’re inheriting some of the design benefits of the Pros, while a more compact design for the AirPods Pro should make them work better in more situations.