KEY POINTS

  • Apple is working on new AirPods and AirPods Pro models
  • Both devices will feature new designs
  • The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 could be released in the first half of 2021, a report says

Apple is working on new versions of the AirPods and AirPods Pro and will likely release them in 2021, a report reveals.

The Cupertino tech giant's new AirPods and AirPods Pro models could be released as early as the first half of next year, unnamed sources familiar with Apple's plans told Bloomberg.

A new AirPods

The sources claimed that the third-generation AirPods will feature a design similar to the current AirPods Pro. This means the third-gen AirPods will have a shorter stem and an in-ear design with replaceable ear tips.

The AirPods 3 will not have active noise cancellation as this is the AirPods Pro's defining feature. It will, however, offer better battery life than the first-gen and second-gen AirPods.

This confirms earlier reports about a new AirPods model that was said to feature the AirPods Pro's design sans active noise cancellation. This device was previously dubbed the “AirPods Pro Lite.”

AirPods Pro AirPods Pro Photo: Aconcagua

A new AirPods Pro

The sources also claimed that the new AirPods Pro will have a significantly different design compared to the first-gen model.

Unlike the older version, the design for the new AirPods Pro model does not have a protruding stem and has a smaller, more rounded shape similar to those used by its rivals, such as earbuds from Samsung, Google and Amazon, the sources revealed.

The development process for the new AirPods Pro, however, hasn't been easy for Apple, the insiders said. The company reportedly found it “challenging” to integrate the AirPods Pro's features and components – microphones, antennas and those used for noise cancellation – into a smaller casing.

That said, the finished product might not look the same as how it appears at the moment.

Apple is planning to use new chips for both devices, the sources said.

A new HomePod?

The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 might also be joined by a new HomePod model that will sit between the recently released HomePod mini ($99) and the older, bigger HomePod ($299), the sources said.

It's currently unclear if this will be an entirely new model or if the company will simply slash the price of the existing older HomePod to become more competitive.