Apple’s next-gen AirPods and AirPods Pro coming in 2021

Apple is working on next-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, a third-generation entry-level AirPods model and the second-generation of the premium AirPods Pro, and looks to debut both in 2021.

make AirPods louder. AirPods Pro Lite production. Image: AirPods Pro bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new lightweight, in-ear design.
Apple AirPods Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro feature Active Noise Cancellation and superior, immersive sound in an all-new lightweight, in-ear design.

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu for Bloomberg:

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.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

A little birdie tells us that DigiTimes‘ “AirPods Pro Lite” are actually AirPods (3rd gen.) which offer the new shorter-stem AirPods Pro design sans active noise cancellation. — MacDailyNews, March 5, 2020

Apple already sells AirPods Pro Lite. They’re called AirPods.MacDailyNews, February 12, 2020

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… Integrating noise-cancellation, wireless antennas and microphones into a smaller AirPods Pro casing has proved challenging during development, which could result in a less ambitious design when the product is finalized, the people said.

Apple has internally discussed launching the new low-end AirPods during the first half of next year. The company is also planning new wireless chips to power both models.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait to see what the Apple H2 chip, coming in the first half of 2021, can do as the H1 chip in our AirPods Pro were a big step up from the W1 found in the original AirPods.

The Apple H1 headphone chip in second-gen AirPods and AirPods Pro, delivers higher-quality sound, a faster and more stable wireless connection to your devices — up to 2x faster than the W1 when switching between active devices, and a 1.5x faster connection time for phone calls. The H1 chip also drives voice-enabled Siri access and delivers up to 30% lower gaming latency.


  1. Can’t wait for these. Still haven’t decided whether I want to switch up to the Pro the next time I buy these.
    I certainly would like a shorter stem. Noise cancellation is not a big deal for me as this point.

  2. I just upgraded from AirPods to AirPods Pro. All I can say is WOW! The pros are incredible, and I don’t use that term lightly. The noise canceling is magical. The fit is extraordinary. The sound is so good that several times I had this moment when it seemed that the AirPods Pro had stopped working and I was hearing the music being played live in the room through my ears with no AirPods in. It’s hard to explain, but it was magical to experience. I do wish there was more content with Apple’s 3D surround sound, but I imagine that’s coming with ATV+ this season. A great upgrade!

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