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Forget a stemless design, the AirPods Pro 2 could look just like the originals

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Future)

The forthcoming AirPods 2 Pro could look very similar to the original model after all, despite previous rumours that the sequels could get rid of the 'stem' in favour of a rounder design.

Apple-savvy site MacRumours (opens in new tab) now claims that a stemless aesthetic is not on the cards for the next-gen AirPods Pro this year, based on its interpretation of new to-scale 3D comparisons by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo. According to the publication, the new scaled comparison by Zelbo "actively suggest" that the AirPods Pro 2 will feature skin-detect sensors, as found on the new AirPods 3, and to replace the optical sensors used in the original Pro.

Both sensors work to achieve the same goal – to discern whether the earpieces are being worn or not so as to accurately facilitate the headphones' auto-pause/resume feature. But the newer skin sensor in the AirPods 3 is more accurate and thus fit for purpose as it detects water content in the wearer's skin, helping to discern whether an earbud is actually in an ear rather than having been placed on a hard surface like a table.

The assumption that the AirPods Pro 2 will adopt skin sensors is down to the image purportedly showing a sensor that looks more similar to the one on the AirPods 3 rather than current AirPods Pro. With the same sensor, the AirPods Pro 2's stems are not only likely to still be present but also the same length.

That aligns with an earlier Bloomberg report that reckons that packing noise-cancellation, wireless antennas and microphones into a smaller AirPods Pro earbud the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and Sony WF-1000XM4, for example) has proved challenging.

The AirPods Pro 2 are expected to launch later this year, perhaps alongside the iPhone 14 in September or October, so there is plenty of time for the rumour mill to churn out more leaks and hearsay. Here's everything (we think) we know about the AirPods Pro 2 so far.

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Becky is the Hi-Fi and Audio editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, Australia, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her eight years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.