Apple is reportedly working on not one, but two new models of the AirPods, which is presumably going to be called AirPods 3.
From the look of things, the recently launched AirPods 2 was just the beginning of the Cupertino brand's new wireless buds.
AirPods 3 Rumors
DigiTimes first reported that Apple is going to release its third-generation AirPods by the end of 2019. Citing "industry sources," it said that the new earbuds will feature active noise cancellation. It also mentioned that there will be headphones with passive noise canceling.
TF Industries' Ming-Chi Kuo, who has reliably predicted such things in the past, corroborated (via 9to5Mac) the report from the news outlet. According to the analyst, there are two models in store: a refresh to the current AirPods and another with an "all-new design" and higher price point. Kuo says that the former wouldn't only share the same design as the AirPods 2 but also its price, but he didn't make it clear whether it's the $159 base price or the $199 option, which comes with a wireless charging case.
The analyst didn't expand on what "all-new design" meant, but the two models in the pipeline will be built under a new system-in-package design that should allow Apple to manufacture them more efficiently, save more space, and reduce the overall production cost.
Kuo says that they should go official sometime between the fourth quarter of 2019 and first quarter of 2020, a time frame that falls in line with other reports.
Back in June 2018, Bloomberg also reported that the next iteration of the AirPods will have a longer range and water resistance. It also said it would have noise cancellation and a 2019 launch date. In addition, the earbuds are also said to be unveiled alongside over-ear headphones.
Apple's New Earbuds So Far
As mentioned earlier, Apple took the wraps off the AirPods 2 in March. It built on the first-generation AirPods with a new wireless charging case and H1 chip that not only improved battery life but also added hands-free "Hey Siri" functionality to the mix.
Facing Competitors Head-On
According to the DigiTimes report, Apple is looking to incorporate new features to the new AirPods 3 to go toe-to-toe with rivals, who sprung up because of the success of the AirPods line.
At that, Microsoft has been said to be developing a similar product, which could feature Siri integration and noise cancellation, though it's unclear whether it's active or passive. It could be called Surface Buds, Surface Earbuds, or something along those lines. There's also no word on its design, but it'll likely adopt the Surface Headphones' gray color.
Meanwhile, Amazon is also reportedly working on a pair of wireless earbuds powered by its virtual assistant Alexa. The team developing it is said to be gunning for "better audio quality" compared with the AirPods, but it won't be available with a wireless charging case.