We found images of a redesigned pair of AirPods in the iOS 13.2 beta earlier this month, featuring what appears to be an in-ear design for better noise cancellation. The rumors of AirPods with noise cancellation and water resistance have been circling for some time and it appears we are close to launch.
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A Chinese EDN report suggests that Apple will be calling these new wireless earbuds ‘AirPods Pro’, with a price point around the $250 mark. This would be an increase of $50 from the current second-generation AirPods with wireless charging case.
Naturally, the existing AirPods would stick around and the in-ear design would be offered as a more premium alternative. The report says that the new AirPods are in production and could launch as soon as the end of the month, ready for the holiday shopping season.
The new ‘AirPods Pro’ represent a significant redesign with a new angled stem and larger air vent on the outer side of the bud. The charging case for the new AirPods is also expected to change, looking more like the bottom of a sailboat than a tic-tac box. In fact, accessory makers are already selling 3rd-gen AirPods cases on Amazon.
As usual, supply chain sources should not be treated as gospel when it comes to branding and pricing decisions. However, rough ballparks can often be calculated based on the bill of materials and computing a price using Apple’s typical 35-40% gross margin for hardware.
The second-generation AirPods were released as a simple press release announcement on Apple’s website, back in March. The new in-ear AirPods represent a bigger design change though and would be worthy of stage time in an Apple media event, however press have yet to receive any such invite. It remains unclear whether Apple is planning to host a second Apple event in the remaining weeks of 2019.