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Apple may be moving in a new direction with its rumored upcoming third-generation AirPods. Supply chain sources hint these future AirPods could resemble the current AirPods Pro, according to a report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors.
AirPods New Design
On the outside, Apple’s future entry-level AirPods may ditch its existing look and adopt a design, much like the current AirPods Pro.
Most of the changes will be in the stem portion of the wireless earbud and not in the earpiece.
This new design is made possible by a system in package (SIP) that allows Apple to install the audio hardware into a smaller casing.
Apple may be shrinking the stem of future AirPods, providing the earbuds with a low profile fit in the ear, just like the AirPods Pro.
The AirPods and the AirPods Pro may look very similar on the outside, but the entry-level AirPods would lack the noise cancellation and other advanced features of the AirPods Pro.
AirPods Lite Rumors
According to Max Weinbach, Apple still may be working on a wireless alternative to its EarPods. These so-called AirPods Lite would be bundled along with iPhones in their retail packaging starting in 2021.
These wireless models may give iPhone owners a taste of the wireless audio but could be low-end enough that users will still be enticed to upgrade to more robust and feature-rich AirPods and AirPods Pro.
It’s also possible these “trashy wireless AirPods,” as Weinbach calls them, may never see the light of day. Recent rumors suggest Apple is pairing down its iPhone packaging as a cost-savings measure. To slim down its packaging, Apple may remove both the EarPods and the power adapter and ship the iPhone 12 only with a charging cable.
If this strategy is successful for the iPhone 12, the Cupertino company may continue this pared-down packaging going forward.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]