Bloomberg: AirPods, AirPods Pro to get refreshes starting the first half of 2021

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case and iPhone in the background
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case and iPhone in the background (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is said to be working on new versions of AirPods and AirPods Pro.
  • The new AirPods will reportedly look similar to AirPods Pro.
  • They might be ready for the first half of 2021.

Apple is working on newly refreshed versions of AirPods and AirPods Pro, according to a new Bloomberg report. While there's no indication when the latter will ship, the former is being discussed for a debut in the first half of next year.

The new report, courtesy of the well-connected Mark Gurman, has Apple's teams working on a refreshed AirPods that more closely resemble the existing AirPods Pro. That means smaller stem and replaceable tips that shoud make finding the perfect fit much easier.

The design of the updated entry-level AirPods will be similar to the current AirPods Pro, gaining a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips. Apple is also looking to improve battery life. That model however will not have higher-end AirPods Pro features like noise-cancellation, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

We've heard talk of AirPods that resemble AirPods Pro before with DigiTimes reporting something very similar. A launch window of 2021 was mentioned then, too. According to today's Bloomberg report, the first half of 2021 is possible for the new AirPods, although AirPods Pro aren't mentioned.

The new AirPods Pro are said to be doing away with the stem altogether, similar to competing products from Google and Samsung.

For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom. A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user's a ear -- similar to the latest designs from Samsung Electronics Co., Inc. and Google.

However, including support for active noise cancellation technology appears to be a problem given the reuecd amount of internal space available with the removal of the stems.

The headphone talk continues, with the claim that Apple's rumored AirPods Studio headphones have now been pushed back following manufacturing issues – matching a recent Jon Prosser tweet.

Finally, Bloomberg's report goes on to suggest Apple is working on a new HomePod that will sit between HomePod and HomePod mini in the lineup. However, it's possible that this will never launch, according to the report.

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.