Apple has scaled-back the AirPods Studio because of production issues; AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 scheduled for release in 2021 with new designs
Apple continues to be a market leader in terms of true-wireless (TWS) earbuds, so it should be obvious the company has several new models in development. While there have already been rumours about a second-generation AirPods Pro, Mark Gurman and Debby Wu have revealed several details about Apple's next-generation audio products. Writing for Bloomberg, Gurman and Wu claim that Apple plans to release a new pair of the AirPods Pro, along with a third-generation of the AirPods and the AirPods Studio - the first AirPods-branded pair of over-ear headphones.
According to Gurman and Wu, the AirPods Pro 2 will be more compact than the current model, with Apple eliminating the stem design that it has used since it released the first AirPods in 2016. Apparently, the next AirPods Pro will occupy more in-ear space and will be similar in shape to Samsung's Galaxy Buds+.
There is a caveat to this proposed design though; Apple's ability to pack the features that the current AirPods Pro has without the space that a stem brings. Apparently, fitting active noise cancellation (ANC), Bluetooth antennas and microphones into a more compact design is proving tricky, so the final design of the AirPods Pro 2 may not as ambitious as Gurman and Wu describe. Given that Apple is yet to finalise the design of the AirPods Pro 2, it should come as no surprise that its release date is a way off yet. As a leaker claimed last week, the AirPods Pro 2 will not arrive until 2021, with Q4 possibly being a target release window.
Meanwhile, the AirPods 3 will supposedly inherit the design of the current AirPods Pro, albeit without ANC. Apple is said to have improved the battery life of the AirPods with the third-generation model though, and will also equip the earbuds with a new chipset. Like the AirPods Pro 2, Apple is not expected to launch the AirPods 3 until next year, although it may be as early as 1H 2021.
Finally, Gurman and Wu claim that the AirPods Studio should have gone into production a few weeks ago. However, issues with the headband of the headphones have delayed proceedings and has limited the scope of what Apple wanted to achieve. Apple has been forced to ditch the replaceable headband, for example, while the size of the touch-sensitive areas on the earcups have been reduced. Gurman and Wu did not touch on a release date for the AirPods Studio, but rumour has it that the headphones will not arrive until March 2021.