Apple AirPods Pro were almost named AirPods Extreme just like the 2003 AirPort Extreme but employees hated it

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

A recent report suggests AirPods Pro almost had a much worse name before Apple settled on the current one, and we have employees' objections to thank for it.

According to internal information seen by MacRumors, AirPods Pro were almost called AirPods Extreme before their official launch back in 2019. The idea was floated by at least one member of Apple’s leadership, but Apple went for AirPods Pro instead, after “many employees objected to the change.”

This was not Apple's first time using the Pro branding, as the first MacBook Pro was launched in January 2006, the first iPad Pro launched in November 2015, and the iPhone 11 Pro arrived in September 2019, a month before the AirPods Pro. With Pro a regular naming scheme among Apple products, the name decision meant that the AirPods would be more in line with the current lineup. However, AirPods Extreme also wouldn’t be the first use of Extreme for an Apple product. 

The last time Apple got extreme

Though the entire line has been discontinued for a few years now, Apple used to sell routers, and it launched a version of its router called the AirPort Extreme way back in 2003. It got its name thanks to the new 802.11g Wi-Fi standard that other Apple AirPorts didn’t have.

The team responsible for wireless routers at Apple was disbanded in 2016, with the AirPort Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme discontinued just a few years later in 2018. For this reason, the AirPods Extreme name made even less sense, as only one other Apple product used it, and it had been discontinued a year prior. Given the name Extreme is pretty… well, extreme, AirPods Max might have needed an even bigger name to find its place in the market. We’re glad that employees fought internally for the change, as AirPods Pro is a much easier naming convention and just a better name in general.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.