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Apple's next-gen AirPods Pro might not have their iconic stem

Steve Dent
·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Apple might redesign its wireless AirPods Pro earbuds next year to make them smaller and possibly eliminate the iconic straw-like stem at the bottom, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. It’s also reportedly redesigning the standard AirPods model to look more like the current AirPods Pro, with a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.

The AirPods Pro white stem design is instantly identifiable and has been copied by other brands including OnePlus and Huawei. However, Apple is reportedly testing a redesign with a more rounded, ear-conforming shape the ditches it altogether — meaning they could look more like the wireless earbuds from Samsung or Google. All that said, though, the company has found it a challenge to fit the electronics into a smaller AirPods Pro body, according to Gurman, so the final model could be less ambitious than originally planned.

Meanwhile, Apple is making the updated entry-level AirPods look more like the current AirPods Pro, meaning they’ll have replaceable ear tips and a shorter stem. They’d also gain battery life, but would not come with AirPods Pro features like active noise cancellation. This model could be launched in the first half of 2021.

Apple is also supposedly working on new wireless chips for both models, and is still planning to announce high-end, noise-canceling over-ear headphones next year, as rumored. Those were already supposed to have gone into production, but were reportedly pushed back to a headband that was too tight in some tests.