Apple’s next pair of Beats-branded wireless earbuds could be coming very soon. 9to5Mac discovered references to the Beats Studio Buds hidden within the latest iOS 14.6 software build, complete with animations revealing their design.
The animations, possibly intended for instructional use, show a more contemporary earbud design than previous Beats or Apple AirPods headphones, lacking any over-ear hooks or stems. The inclusion of such materials in an iOS release candidate — the stage after the beta version — suggests this set of buds could launch even before the AirPods 3, which has leaked extensively but not from official sources.
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It’s worth noting that “Beats Studio Buds” isn’t the guaranteed name, as the references came from internal files — so Apple could just be using it as a placeholder. But the name would fit the apparently less-fitness-focused design, which seems to be aiming more for casual comfort than Beats’ best sports headphones.
Animations of Beats Studio Buds: 🧵 pic.twitter.com/XYVvYP7ez3May 17, 2021
The animations, shared by 9to5Mac contributor Steve Moser, show an interesting cross between the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and the Earin A-3: the buds have an almost conical shape, presumably to better fit the ear canal, while exposing a tiny pill-shaped flat section similar to the A-3’s touch sensor.
Beats Studio Buds ‘charged’ pic.twitter.com/xTqj1vo8MqMay 17, 2021
The charging case is also a lot more compact than what we’re used to seeing from Beats; it almost looks like a more rounded version of the AirPods Pro case.
According to 9to5Mac’s digging, the Beats Studio Pro also support active noise cancellation. In addition to launching sooner, this could be another advantage over the AirPods 3, which isn’t widely expected to include ANC so as to avoid too much overlap with the AirPods Pro. Notably, there are no similar hints of the AirPods 3 in iOS 14.6.
There’s no word of the Beats Studio Pro’s battery life or internals, though it’s likely to use either an Apple H1 or W1 chip. These are necessary to take advantage of Apple Music’s upcoming spatial audio support, not to mention being common among previous Apple and Beats earbuds and over-ear headphones.
However, unless Apple makes huge upgrades to the Studio Pro’s Bluetooth capabilities, it probably won’t get to play Apple Music lossless content as well.
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James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.