The drip feed of rumors on Apple’s new earbuds has spanned leaked images and design info. Now, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reports that the new AirPods and AirPods Pro will land this year and in 2022, respectively. The latter will feature updated motion sensors with fitness tracking perks, according to people with knowledge of the plans. Taking into account Apple’s focus on health — which includes its Fitness+ exercise video service that syncs with the Apple Watch and Apple Music — the update makes sense.
Sources also told Gurman that Apple has considered an AirPods Pro design change that eliminates the stems. It reportedly plans to debut the look on new Beats-branded wireless earbuds set to be announced next month — the same ones LeBron James may have been wearing in a recent Instagram fit pic.
Meanwhile, the report reiterates the long-standing rumor that Apple is planning to shorten the stems on the base AirPods to mirror the design of their premium siblings. There have also been conflicting reports over whether the earbuds would support active noise cancellation (ANC). For his part, Gurman previously said they wouldn’t get a boost in sound quality, while 52Audio (which leaked an image of the purported AirPods) said the addition of ANC was “highly probable.”
However, they won’t launch alongside a new pair of AirPods Max. Instead, Apple is mulling new colors for the over-ear headphones it released in December. The company has also started development on the new hybrid HomePod accessories it was recently rumored to be working on. They include an Apple TV box with a speaker and camera (possibly akin to a Roku Streambar) and a seperate high-end speaker with an iPad for a display, which could be positioned as a rival to Amazon’s Echo Show.