Apple AirPods Pro 2 could launch very soon with an all-new design

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 could be announced sooner than we thought, according to a new report by Digitimes (via Macworld). 

The report cites industry sources, who say that Apple has placed orders relating to the new AirPods with Winbond Electronics, and that they'll launch in the first half of 2021.

Digitimes says that Winbond is expected to be among the NOR flash suppliers for Apple's next-generation AirPods Pro "slated for launch later in the first half of this year."

With this new report, everything is pointing towards a 2021 release date for the AirPods Pro 2, the next generation of the company's wildly popular AirPods Pro noise-cancelling wireless earbuds

Previously, a report from Bloomberg (among others) claimed the AirPods Pro 2 would launch this year, and could be subject to a pretty dramatic design overhaul, getting rid of the protruding ear stems that made the original AirPods so instantly recognizable. 

More recently, Japanese blog MacOtakara, which is often right in its Apple predictions, alleged that the AirPods Pro 2 will arrive in April 2021 alongside the iPhone SE 3

Fantastical features

As with any rumor, it's important to take these claims with a pinch of salt. Not too long ago, we were told by one tipster that the updated earphones wouldn't appear until late in 2021, and there does seem to be some confusion over whether Apple would upgrade the AirPods Pro or bring out a cheaper, Lite version of the earbuds. 

Still, it makes sense that Apple would release the follow up to its premium buds soon, as the original AirPods Pro were launched way back in October 2019 – and now that the company has released its first over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max, there's a definite appetite for more Apple audio tech.

That's evident from the steady flow of rumors surrounding the AirPods Pro 2. Recently, we've heard how the Apple AirPods Pro 2 could be controlled by touching your face, shaking your head, and even clicking your teeth together, according to a patent filed by the tech giant.

The patent describes earbuds that are designed to detect input actions within a structure, with examples of these structures including the inside of your ear canal, your head, or any body part.

Other rumored features include the ability to monitor blood oxygen levels like the Apple Watch 6, built-in accelerometers to monitor your exercise performance, and even the ability to automatically pause your music when the earbuds detect hazards in your vicinity.

We daresay that many of these rumored features won't come with the next AirPods Pro, just as the AirPods Max didn't come with futuristic gesture controls. Instead, we reckon Apple will focus on improving the design of their true wireless earbuds, perhaps eliminating the protruding stems, as well as upgrading the audio quality, noise cancellation performance, and battery life.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.