The AirPods business is one of the fastest-rising sources of revenue for Apple, and enthusiasts of the popular "premium" audio wearables are always looking out for updates to the device - both the original AirPods (1 & 2) and the AirPods Pro. A recent report from Bloomberg claims that the 2nd generation of the AirPods Pro would be launched in 2022 with updated sensors for tracking motion and fitness activities, and an updated design devoid of the stems that the Apple wearable helped popularize back in 2019.
The report confirms recent rumours of an upcoming stem-less design to Apple's wireless earbuds, which is said to debut in a pair of new Beats-branded wireless earbuds to be announced next month, in June. This could be the Beats Studio Buds which were reportedly spotted in the ears of Basketball star LeBron James in some of the player's most recent Instagram pictures.
The absence of the stem from the upcoming AirPods Pro suggests that the control mechanism - which is currently handled by squeezes and presses on the earbuds' stems - would be moved to a touch or button-press scheme on the earbuds themselves.
The AirPods Pro currently has an array of sensors including motion-detecting and speech-detecting accelerometers, but that array is about to get bigger, as the Bloomberg report reveals that Apple would be upgrading the motion sensors to track fitness metrics. That
is would be a first for the Apple AirPods line, and it remains to be seen what exactly this upgrade would offer in terms of fitness tracking.
If the AirPods Pro 2 is indeed launched next year as the report says, that would be the first major (hardware and software) upgrade to the AirPods Pro since it was first launched in October 2019. The AirPods Pro has received several software (firmware) updates over the years, bringing new features like Spatial audio and quick switching to the earbuds, but the physical design and features haven't changed at all since.
The regular AirPods would also be getting a product update with shorter stems and a design similar to the current AirPods Pro sometime in 2021, according to earlier reports. The Bloomberg report also includes updates on other Apple accessories, including the development of a HomePod speaker with a screen, camera for FaceTime calls and Apple TV features.
The release of the upcoming Apple AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2nd Gen were previously scheduled for early 2021 and late 2021 respectively, but Apple has had to push the timeline further since the news broke in 2020. Hopefully, the new timeline wouldn't be compromised again as events unfold over the coming months.