Bloomberg has a new report out today that gives us a new look at what Apple’s plans are for its audio lineup. That includes AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Studio, and even HomePod.
Starting with AirPods, Bloomberg says that Apple is working on a refreshed version that will look more like the existing AirPods Pro. That includes a shorter stem as well as replaceable ear tips that could make it easier than ever to find the right fit. AirPods are currently a one-size-fits-all situation that, unfortunately, often doesn’t fit.
The design of the updated entry-level AirPods will be similar to the current AirPods Pro, gaining a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips. Apple is also looking to improve battery life. That model however will not have higher-end AirPods Pro features like noise-cancellation, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
The report also goes on to say that Apple is set to launch the new AirPods in the first half of 2021, matching previous reports from DigiTimes.
In terms of AirPods Pro, Bloomberg says that a refresh is also in the cards that does away with the stem completely. Competing products from Google, Huawei, and even Amazon already use that approach and Apple is thought to be following suit.
For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom. A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user’s a ear — similar to the latest designs from Samsung Electronics Co., Amazon.com Inc. and Google.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like AirPods Studio will be with us before the end of the year, though. The same report notes that Apple has had some manufacturing hiccups and has instead decided to push the project back.
The headphones were due to go into production weeks ago, but that was pushed back due to problems with the headband, a person familiar with the matter said. That part was deemed too tight in some testing.
The company initially wanted to include large touch pads on the sides of the headphones, but reduced the size of those panels. Apple has also scaled back some of the interchangeable functionality of the headphones that were a hallmark of the initial concept. The latest version of the product is likely to lack a replaceable headband, but could still include interchangeable ear pads.
Finally, there’s HomePod. Bloomberg believes that the company is considering launching a speaker that would sit between the HomePod and HomePod mini products. It does say that Apple might instead decide to reduce the price of the existing HomePod instead, however.
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