Apple's new AirPods Pro to lose most iconic design feature

AirPods Pro
Apple's current AirPods Pro (Image credit: Apple)

When first revealed in 2016, the design of Apple's original AirPods was widely mocked online, mainly thanks to the wireless earbuds' large stems. Fast-forward four years, and Apple has clearly had the last laugh – with AirPods having achieved ubiquity on the streets. 

But if new leaks are to be believed, the next iteration of AirPods Pro could see the iconic (and once controversial) stem eliminated once and for all in favour of a more rounded, ear-fitting design. Could they end up replacing the original AirPods in our best wireless headphones roundup?

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Reliable Apple leaker Mark Gurman claims (above) that the updated AirPods Pro won't feature any stem at all, while the basic AirPods will be given a design similar to the current AirPods Pro (with a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips).

"Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom," Gurman elaborates for Bloomberg. "A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user’s ear, similar to the latest designs from Samsung, Amazon and Google."

We're curious to see whether Apple's AirPods manage to retain their iconic look without the stem. While the design was the subject of many a meme back in 2016, there's no denying its incredible popularity now. 

And the new AirPods and AirPods Pro aren't the only headphones Apple is rumoured to be launching soon. Rumours about an over-ear set called AirPods Studio have been rife for months, with many expecting to see them during Apple's iPhone 12 event this month. Alas, this wasn't to be – but regular Apple leaker Jon Prosser says they could arrive next March (below).

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2020 has been, among many other things, a fruitful year for Apple fans, with new iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and more unveiled. And the company might not be finished yet – a brand new MacBook Pro is rumoured to be arriving as soon as next month. 

Time will tell whether the new AirPods and AirPods Pro will arrive then, or alongside the AirPods Studio next March. In the meantime, check out today's best AirPods deals below, and don't forget to check what offers are available as part of Apple Black Friday

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.