According to the latest Apple rumours, the company will launch a new version of its iconic AirPods wireless earphones featuring active noise cancellation later this month. The new model will be called the AirPods Pro, and will purportedly be priced higher than NT$ 8,000 (approximately Rs. 18,500 before taxes and duties). The report comes from a Chinese newspaper, the China Economic Daily, and was spotted by MacRumours. Details are scarce at the moment and there are no photos to go by, but the AirPods Pro is said to feature a fresh design with metal body parts to help dissipate heat. If real, Apple could unveil its latest wearable at a rumoured press event before the end of October.
AirPods featuring active noise cancellation have been rumoured since even before the second-gen model was launched earlier this year, but recent reports have indicated a launch in late 2019 or early 2020. It now looks as though the new model will be positioned above the existing one, and won't be a simple replacement.
A mention of noise cancellation appeared in the code of Apple's iOS 13.2 beta earlier this month. A related icon discovered at the same time provided what could be either a placeholder or an indication of the actual look. If accurate, the new model will have short, stubby stalks and rubber ear tips. The charging case would also be different, with a shorter, squatter design. Some possible leaks and speculative renders based on these indications have also appeared online.
Other rumoured features include activity tracking, water resistance, biometric sensing, and better battery life. A separate article in the Chinese-language publication suggests that there will be multiple listening modes, which might refer to noise cancellation being enabled or disabled. The new model would presumably also support wireless charging like the second-gen AirPods. Customers and Apple fans have long expressed a desire for AirPods to be available in black, and the AirPods Pro might offer that option for differentiation.
If these rumours are accurate, Apple could soon announce an event to be held before the end of October. The company has been expected to reveal a new 16-inch MacBook Pro and new iPad Pro models, but there could also be announcements of the company's long-rumoured AR glasses and location tracking tags being announced.
The timing of the purported launch might also suggest that Apple wants to capitalise on the holiday gifting season in the US and other parts of the world. Truly wireless earphones have caught on across the world and sales are estimated to exceed 90 million units in 2019, according to the China Economic Daily.