A leaked image posted online over the weekend shows off what may by the third iteration of Apple’s AirPods earbuds (fourth if you count the over-the-ear AirPods Max).
The pictures, which were shared by the Chinese-language website 52audio, depict next-gen regular AirPods with smaller stems and silicone tips, alongside a new LED charging indicator on the front of the charging case.
There are more pictures available to view on the 52audio website. These include a combination of photos and renders.
It is, however, important to notes that MacRumors, which shared the link on its site, points out that the website has previously shown a faked image of the alleged AirPods 3. Back in November, it posted an x-ray picture, allegedly showing the new listenables. But this was just a compressed x-ray picture of the current-gun AirPods Pro.
What to expect from the next-gen AirPods?
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that he expects third-generation AirPods to arrive during the first half of 2021. Kuo said that the new AirPods will boast an AirPods Pro-style design, only without active noise cancellation. According to 52audio, the new AirPods will boast a pressure-relieving system like that on the AirPods Pro. This feature is intended to stop the pressurized feeling you can get from wearing in-ear earbuds. It could also include AirPods Pro-style touch controls.
The AirPods remain the market leader when it comes to wireless earbuds, and one of Apple’s biggest new product hits in years. According to recent Counterpoint data, Apple now makes up 29% of the TWS (true wireless stereo hearables) market. Its biggest global competitor in terms of shipments is Xiaomi, which represents 13% of the market. Other players include Samsung, JBL, QCY, JLAB, and Sony. Between them, they are gradually shrinking Apple’s overall market share — although the AirPods continue to fly off the shelves.
It’s not clear when the new AirPods will make their debut. Apple leaker Jon Prosser recently tweeted that he does not expect the AirPods to be featured at a rumored March event for Apple.
Are you excited about the next AirPods? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.