Apple will start production on updated AirPods next month, with plans to launch the third-generation earbuds later this year, according to a report from Nikkei. It’s the latest rumor regarding Apple’s product schedule, which will reportedly include an all-5G iPhone line-up in 2022, including a revamped iPhone SE sporting the as-yet-unannounced A15 processor.
A refresh of Apple’s entry-level AirPods have been rumored for a while now, with previous generations launched in 2016 and 2019. Back in May, Bloomberg reported that the earbuds will have a design similar to the AirPods Pro, with “a new case and shorter stems poking out of the bottom of each one.” If Nikkei is right about production starting next month, we can expect to see the new-look AirPods revealed alongside the iPhone 13 this September.
In addition to the earbuds, Apple might also release new versions of the MacBook Pro later this year, says Nikkei. This rumor seems pretty solid, with previous reports suggesting that the new laptops will be available in 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes, with next-gen Apple-designed Arm processors, the return of MagSafe charging, and the end of the Touch Bar.
Looking ahead to 2022, Apple is expected to equip all new iPhones that year with 5G compatibility. Nikkei says the company will not update the smaller iPhone 12 Mini in 2022 after disappointing sales (though reports suggest it will offer an iPhone 13 Mini later this year).
Instead, in 2022, the company will refresh the cheaper iPhone SE with 5G and an A15 processor. The updated iPhone SE will reportedly use a Qualcomm chip for 5G compatibility, an interesting note given that Apple is reportedly building its own modems in order to further wean itself off third-party designs. The new iPhone SE will also reportedly keep its 4.7-inch LCD displays, says Nikkei, making it the obvious choice for consumers who prefer a smaller device. Earlier reports about the third-generation SE said it will also retain the home button and Apple’s Touch ID sensor.