The biggest AirPods update ever is once again reported for release in 2021

Airpods 3 Leak Images
Airpods 3 Leak Images (Image credit: UnclePan)

What you need to know

  • Apple is again reportedly ready to release new AirPods.
  • Apple has not redesigned AirPods since they launched in 2016.
  • A more AirPods Pro-like design is expected.

Apple is roundly expected to have newly refreshed AirPods ready to go, but it hasn't actually announced anything. That's set to change before the end of the year if previous reports are any indication — and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has once again reiterated that fact.

Writing in his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that we should expect a "significant update" this time around — something that has been missing since AirPods first arrived back in 2016.

Expect new entry-level AirPods with a design closer to the AirPods Pro, including a new in-ear shape and shorter stems. These will be the first update to the entry-level AirPods since March 2019 and the most significant update to that part of Apple's AirPods line since the first model debuted in 2016.

The AirPods Pro-like redesign is something that's been rumored for months and we've even seen images of what are claimed to be new AriPods earbuds. Shorter stems and an in-ear design are the big points here, although buyers shouldn't expect any of the fancy ANC features of the more costly AirPods Pro option. Keen on going the Pro route? Check out our list of the best AirPods Pro deals before you do!

It isn't immediately clear when we should expect AirPods to get their big refresh, although a launch alongside the incoming iPhone 13 would make some sense. We expect that to happen at some point next month, although any time between now and December 31 is likely at this point.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.