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AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 coming next year — with these new designs

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Update: A more recent rumor has narrowed down the release date of the AirPods Pro 2 to Q3 2022

Apple AirPods 3 and Apple AirPods Pro 2 will arrive next year, according to a new report. Both pairs of wireless earbuds are in the works and will bring changes to Apple's hearables lineup.

According to Bloomberg (opens in new tab) the third-generation AirPods will look more like AirPods Pro, but miss out on premium features like active noise-cancellation. The high-end AirPods Pro 2, meanwhile, may ditch the stem all together. A current prototype is similar in design to the Amazon Echo Buds and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, sources familiar with the plans told Bloomberg.

Apple is allegedly looking to improve the stamina of its AirPods, too. Although both the standard pair and AirPods Pro are two of the best wireless earbuds around, neither are celebrated for their existing battery life. 

For comparison, the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro are rated for 4.5 hours out of the case, while the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM3 both get 6 hours of uninterrupted listening time.

Improving AirPods Pro has posed challenges during development, according to Bloomberg. Troubles with scaling down the features of these $249 buds might prevent Apple from going stem-less for the first time since the original AirPods debuted in 2016. 

This isn't the first time we've heard about plans for both third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro. DigiTimes previously reported that AirPods 3 are coming in the first half 2021, while AirPods Pro 2 would arrive in the latter half of next year. 

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has an excellent track records for leaks, so it's not much of a surprise that his new intel lines up. 

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.