Report: 'AirPods Pro' to Launch End of October with New Design, New Noise-Canceling Feature and $260 Price Tag

Apple's rumored next-generation noise-canceling AirPods will launch at the end of this month with a new "Pro" moniker and a price tag of around $260, claims a new Chinese-language report this morning.


According to China Economic Daily, Apple's third-generation ‌AirPods‌ will adopt a new in-ear design to support the new noise-canceling feature and enhance the listening experience. The paper claims the "Pro" suffix, which Apple recently adopted for its most expensive iPhone 11 models, will help to differentiate the new wireless earbuds from Apple's existing ‌AirPods‌ and underscores the marketing rationale justifying the higher $260 price tag.

According to a separate report on Friday from the same Chinese-language financial media outlet, the AirPods Pro will also feature a new metal design that increases heat dissipation. Apple ‌AirPods‌ supplier Inventec is said to be cooperating with Chinese manufacturer Lixun to undertake the new orders.

In April, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said two new ‌AirPods‌ models would likely go into mass production between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, with Luxshare, Goertek, and Amkor serving as primary suppliers.

Kuo also claimed one of the new ‌AirPods‌ models will feature an "all-new form factor design" and a "higher price" than the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, which cost $159 with a standard charging case and $199 with a wireless charging case. The other model is expected to be a more iterative update with the same pricing, although it's unclear what any new features would be.

Previously, the ‌AirPods‌ expected to launch later this year were thought to be the more iterative pair that Kuo refers to. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said he expects the higher-priced AirPods with water resistance and noise cancelation to launch as early as 2020. However, today's report suggests they could come sooner.

According to industry sources previously cited by DigiTimes, Apple's suppliers are gearing up to assemble the next-generation ‌AirPods‌ as early as October, suggesting an updated version of the earphones could arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.

In the beta version of iOS 13.2 there's an icon showing redesigned AirPods that appear to have rubber ear tips that would likely be needed as part of a noise cancelation feature. The image is contained in the Accessibility Settings folder, suggesting the new ‌AirPods‌ will contain a new accessibility feature such as being able to use them as hearing aids, or it could be related to existing Live Listen capabilities.

No specific date has been given for when the new ‌AirPods‌ could debut, but Apple has a number of rumored pending announcements that could point toward an October media event.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
12 months ago
Cue the parade of obligatory elitist headphone owner’s, “No thanks, I’ll stick to my *insert brand name* headphones instead”
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
Presumably they're holding off on a space grey version until a year when they can't think of any other decent features to put in.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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12 months ago
It seems like the industry agreed on the term "pro" to work best as an excuse to raise prices. Pro in-ear headphones, seriously? These used to be product improvements for the regular product lineup.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
Ouch, that's expensive. I'll stick to my trusty Sennheisers.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
I curently hate the shape of Apple airpods and all previous apple in ear headphones, much prefer the comfort of ear buds that tend to mould and flex to your ear shape so I'm looking forward to a design change.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
Jesus Apple, I'm not paying an extra $100 just for the ones that will actually stay in my ears.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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