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AirPods Pro 2 will ditch the stem in 2021 – report

The AirPods Pro 2 true wireless earbuds will see a redesign that dispenses with the telltale stem, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Although they won’t arrive until next-year, the well-connected Mark Gurman reports a next-gen model will offer a more rounded design, more akin to other true wireless buds from the likes of Samsung, Jaybird and Jabra.

However, the design may end up being “less ambitious” due to the challenge of packing active noise-cancelation, rapid wireless connectivity, hands-free Siri and the required microphones into a smaller form factor.

While the stem was widely mocked when the original AirPods launched – with many likening the product to a toothbrush head – the AirPods Pro design was much more subtle, despite Apple cramming in more advanced tech.

According to the report, Apple is also considering a revamp for the less expensive AirPods, last updated in 2019. This would retain the stem, but make it shorter and more akin to the current AirPods Pro. Gurnam reports that both 2021 revamps would feature a new version of the H1 processor that arrived within the AirPods Pro.

Related: Best wireless earbuds 2020

Of course, it is still thought that Apple is planning a premium set of over-ear headphones, dubbed the AirPods Studio. They were strangely absent from the iPhone 12 event earlier this month, after many observers predicted an imminent arrival.

They could still make an appearance during a potential November event to announce the first Apple Silicon-powered Mac computers, but recent rumours suggest that’s also unlikely.

Interestingly, Gurman reports that Apple is considering another addition to the HomePod line, to sit between the existing HomePod smart speaker and the HomePod mini announced alongside the iPhone 12. Gurman said the company could end up reducing the price of the current HomePod model to compete more effectively with the Nest, Amazon and Sonos smart speakers dominating the market.

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