We’ve heard whispers of new AirPods for what seems like ages now. Yes, Apple released new second-generation AirPods with longer battery life and hands-free “Hey, Siri” support, but those are not the “AirPods 2” that are so often the subject of rumors and speculation. Those are, as the name makes clear, simply a new update to AirPods meant to replace the existing model.
The eagle-eyed reporters at sites like MacRumors and 9to5Mac have noticed that the just-released iOS 13.2 developer beta contains within its code a totally new AirPods icon. The icon is in the Accessibility Settings folder and contains a reference to the product’s code name: B298. 9to5Mac claims that other code shows that these new AirPods will have different listening modes, including a noise-cancelling feature called “focus mode.”
Certainly, the simple low-resolution glyph does not match the design of current AirPods. The stems are angled and there are clear rubber/silicone/foam ear tips, which would help improve bass response and overall sound quality as well as blocking outside sound and keeping the AirPods more firmly in place.
The last reliable rumor about these new-design AirPods suggested they could launch by the end of the year or early next year. If they’re ready, they would certainly be a hot holiday gift item, and perfect fodder for an announcement at a potential October event.