Apple's AirPods 3 (now known as AirPods Pro) could be right around the corner. And when they launch, they might just offer a higher price tag than previous models.
Apple is planning to offer two AirPods models this year, according to a new Digitimes report. The first will be the same AirPods 2 earbuds Apple is selling now and will apparently continue to sell into next year. The other, according to the report, will be the AirPods 3.
The report doesn't say much about Apple's plans for the AirPods 3, but Digitimes' sources do say that the earbuds could come with a new System in Package (SiP) internal design. That could allow Apple to improve the AirPods 3 functionality, and depending on how the chip affects other internal components, could translate to a slight design change.
The sources' claims come just after TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported to investors that Apple is working on two new AirPods versions for the coming year. One will be a revamped version of the AirPods 2 and the other will be the AirPods 3. The latter will ship with an "all-new form factor," Kuo told investors, and could arrive by the end of 2019.
Kuo added that the AirPods 3 will also have a higher price, echoing what Digitimes' sources said. It's possible that price tag hits $199 — a bit more than the $159 Apple is selling its existing AirPods for.
The move might make some sense. Apple has been touting the AirPods and their popularity for months. At its last earnings call last month, Apple said it's doing it's best to keep up with AirPods demand. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the earbuds a "cultural phenomenon."
Indeed, they might be. And other companies have taken notice. Samsung is now making Galaxy Buds and competitors Xiaomi, Sony, and others, are all offering similarly small, wireless earbuds. But whether they'll be able to put a dent in AirPods sales remains to be seen.
Of course, the notoriously secretive Apple isn't talking about its future plans, so we'll have to see whether the AirPods 3 launch later this year or early next year. But look for many more rumors on the earbuds as time goes on.