New Apple AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods 3 release date may come next year

  • Apple is planning to launch two new pairs of AirPods next year, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
  • One would succeed the standard AirPods, while the other would be a sequel to the AirPods Pro.
  • The new $159 AirPods would have swappable ear tips and longer battery life. 
  • The launch of new AirPods would come just as Apple has decided to stop selling wired earbuds with its iPhones.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple is planning to update its popular lineup of AirPods wireless earbuds with two new models in 2021, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Debby Wu.

One model would succeed the standard $159 AirPods, which Apple most recently updated in March 2019, while the other would serve as a sequel to the $249 AirPods Pro. The new standard AirPods could debut in the first half of next year, the report says.

Wearable devices like AirPods and the Apple Watch have become increasingly critical for Apple in recent years, as the company as turned to such products to buoy revenue during periods of slow iPhone sales. The launch of new AirPods in 2021 would also come after Apple decided to stop including its wired EarPod headphones with the iPhone, an announcement the company made when unveiling the iPhone 12 earlier this month.

Among the biggest changes coming to the new AirPods Pro will be a new stemless design that more closely resembles wireless earbuds released by competitors like Samsung, according to Bloomberg. The new standard AirPods are said to retain the trademark stems that protrude from the ears, but Apple is reportedly hoping to shorten them.

Improvements coming to the standard $159 model include swappable ear tips and longer battery life, but no noise cancellation, according to Bloomberg. Both headphones will reportedly run on new wireless chips from Apple.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

Bloomberg’s report lines up with previous predictions from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says a new pair of AirPods with a design that more closely resembles the AirPods Pro is coming in early 2021, according to 9to5Mac. Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives previously said he expected a new pair of AirPods Pro to launch even earlier, in November of this year, he recently told Business Insider.

The new AirPods are just two ways in which Apple is expected to update its burgeoning audio lineup in the near future, coming after the company recently launched a miniature version of its HomePod smart speaker.

Bloomberg also reported that Apple considered developing another HomePod model that would fall in between the $300 HomePod and new $100 HomePod Mini. Apple is also planning to release a pair of over-ear headphones with a customizable design, Bloomberg reported. The new over-ear headphones are said to have been delayed after Apple had run into some issues with their development.

Apple launched AirPods in 2016 and has since come to lead the market for wireless earbuds. Apple accounts for 35% of the global market for wireless earbuds, according to Counterpoint Research, meaning it has a larger share of the market than rivals like Xiaomi and Samsung. The research firm also notes, however, that Apple’s grip on the market is slipping as competitors launch less expensive earbuds. Launching new models in 2021 could help Apple cement its lead as competition continues to grow in the industry.

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