Rumor mill: The next generation of standard AirPods will likely draw a lot of similarities from the current AirPods Pro, at least according to leaked images that have surfaced online. If anything, Apple's audio division has proven another cash cow for the company, by developing stylish and above-average products that interact seamlessly with the iPhone and other Apple-made hardware.
Apple is preparing new AirPods models for next year, including a redesigned AirPods 3, a smaller version of the AirPods Pro, and a pair of high end over-ear headphones dubbed AirPods Studio. The latter are rumored to feature a modular design, but there's been little information about AirPods 3.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the new version of the standard AirPods will feature a design that's between the current AirPods 2 and the AirPods Pro. This will supposedly be facilitated by a move to a system-in-package (SiP) solution, which packs in the necessary electronics in a smaller volume while allowing more space for the battery.
This has reaffirmed by Chinese blog 52Audio, which posted leaked photos of the supposed third-gen AirPods and its accompanying case. The new earbuds appear to have a rounder shape and shorter stem that are similar to the AirPods Pro. However, it appears Apple will once again use the one-size-fits-all approach, which could mean the changeable in-ear tips will remain a "Pro" feature.
According to CounterPoint Research, Apple's AirPods still lead the true wireless earphones market. The shipment volume is expected to reach 82 million units this year, but the overall market share is slowly being eroded by a large swath of specialized Chinese brands that offer cheaper solutions. The AirPods 3 will reportedly be priced at $199, which is not likely to reverse that downward trend.