Apple is preparing to unveil a redesigned version of its popular AirPods Pro and iPhone SE in April 2021, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The publication is usually a pretty reliable source of information about as-yet-unannounced Apple product, however, nothing is confirmed until CEO Tim Cook and co. take to the stage to reveal the latest hardware.
Apple launched its first-generation AirPods Pro in October 2019. These wireless ‘buds are smaller than the more affordable £159 AirPods, with smaller stems. They also drop the one-size-fits-all approach for a series of interchangeable rubber tips, which can be swapped out to perfectly fit your ear. This creates the seal needed for the active noise-cancellation to really work.
With Apple rumoured to be launching a new entry-level pair of AirPods with the same industrial design as the current-generation AirPods Pro in the coming weeks, the next AirPods Pro need to stand apart. According to the latest whispers from Mac Otakara, the Cupertino-based company plans to do this by redesigning the charging case. Specifically, the new case will be slightly narrower.
Mac Otakara states the second-generation case will remain 21mm thick, but will have a height of 46mm and a width of 54mm. The current charging case stands 45.2mm tall and has a width of 60.6mm.
The slightly smaller case is likely possible thanks to the rumoured redesign, which will purportedly drop the stems from the earbuds. If accurate, we expect the new AirPods Pro to look much to the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and Google Pixel Buds launched last year. It’s unclear whether removing the stems will make the AirPods Pro worse for handsfree calls.
Previous rumours suggested that improved noise-cancelling and better battery life could make it into the second-generation AirPods Pro. As it stands, the ‘buds pack 4.5 hours of listening time with active noise-cancellation turned on, and 3.5 hours of talk time. Battery life increases to 5 hours when noise-cancellation is switched off. The charging case adds an extra 24-hours of battery life before you’ll need to search for a charging plug.
For comparison, the Galaxy Buds+ offer 11 hours of playback – without active noise-cancellation. Talk time is a little less, but still hours longer than Apple can offer.
Alongside the new AirPods Pro, April 2021 is also rumoured to see the arrival of an updated iPhone SE. This handset keeps the same design as the iPhone 8, with chunky bezels above and below the touchscreen and the trusty Home Button (complete with Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded) all present and correct, but adds an improved Apple-designed processor. Originally designed to cater for those who wanted access to iOS without the eye-watering price tag found on the latest flagship models, the other appeal of the SE range was its smaller size.
However, with the launch of the iPhone 12 mini last year, which brings the latest-generation of camera technology, the fastest processor and 5G mobile data speeds, the latter doesn’t seem as crucial for the next iPhone SE model. As well as a faster processor, the new iPhone SE series is expected to ship in an optional Plus-sized variant with a 5.5-inch or 6.1-inch display. This will use the same shell as the iPhone 8 Plus, which originally launched back in 2017.