Apple is a technology company that likes to “subtract” its products. For example, it cut off the iPhone’s 3.5mm headphone jack and established the AirPods product line to promote the development of TWS headsets.
Currently, the AirPods product line has three products, namely AirPods, AirPods (second generation) and AirPods Pro. Now, the AirPods family will usher in the fourth member, that is the new AirPods.
Exposure analysis of the new AirPods
1. Look at the “familiar” design
A few days ago, I love audio network released a set of real shots of the new AirPods. As can be seen from the picture, the headset extends the semi-in-ear design of the second-generation AirPods, but incorporates some AirPods Pro design elements, such as detachable earplugs; shorter ear handle structure; retaining pressure-sensitive touch.
From the appearance of the earphones, the new AirPods and AirPods Pro are not much different, but the earphone handle part, the new AirPods will appear slightly longer.
It should be noted that the new AirPods here refer to the upgraded version of AirPods (second generation), not the new generation of AirPods Pro. We can see from the new AirPods that Apple has further unified the product design ID. In fact, the designs of the iPhone and iPad product lines have begun to merge with each other. iPad Pro (2020) and iPad Air 4 are a typical case.
The iPad Air 4 has been upgraded from the original “wide forehead + big chin” to the same full-screen design as the iPad Pro (2020), and the rounded chamfer of the body has also been updated to the same right-angle cut edge design of the iPad Pro (2020) . In other words, the iPad Air series product line is being updated in accordance with the design of the iPad Pro. In the same way, the new AirPods are iterative products based on the design of AirPods Pro.
2. “Deja vu” charging box
Not only the headset body, the new headset even the charging box does not forget to be unified with the AirPods Pro design.
As can be seen from the picture, the new AirPods charging box is smaller in volume and size than the AirPods Pro charging box. According to the sentence that can be matched with earplugs, we speculate that the new AirPods charging box may not reserve a place for earplugs, so the volume of the charging box can be further compressed.
Of course, it is not ruled out that Apple has adjusted the internal structure of the new AirPods charging box.
From the current point of view, the new AirPods did not bring many surprises to users in terms of appearance, and the overall design is in line with AirPods Pro. Although the information exposed on the Internet is relatively limited at this stage, we can speculate which technologies the new AirPods will carry based on the previous news.
3. New technology forecast
Combined with the previous news, according to foreign media DigiTimes, Apple plans to integrate the ambient light sensor into the new AirPods within 1-2 years to achieve health monitoring.
The Taiwan Electronic Times pointed out that Taiwanese company ASE (ASE) may produce the required ambient light sensor for the new AirPods. In addition, according to industry sources, ASE is also preparing to apply SESUB (semiconductor embedded in the substrate) SiP packaging technology to the new AirPods. This new packaging technology can be combined with AI to enable the device to monitor the user’s heart rate, step count and other functions in real time.
If the news is true, the new AirPods may be equipped with an ambient light sensor to achieve some health functions.
How is the new AirPods different from AirPods Pro?
Seeing the friends here, you may ask such questions. Since the new AirPods look very similar to AirPods Pro, what is the difference between these two headphones?
First of all, the wearing comfort of the two is different. In essence, the new AirPods are still semi-in-ear headphones, while AirPods Pro are in-ear headphones. Semi-in-ear earphones hang the cavity outside the ear canal, while in-ear earphones insert earplugs into the ear canal, which will bring a certain squeezing feeling to the ear canal.
For example, the reason why AirPods is loved by many users is that it can be worn all day long, and it is matched with the iOS ecosystem, which brings convenience to users. The advantage of AirPods Pro is active noise reduction, which can bring users a more immersive listening experience, but at the expense of a certain degree of wearing comfort.
Secondly, the principle of noise reduction is different. AirPods Pro uses active noise reduction, collects external noise through the headset microphone, and forms reverse sound waves to cancel out the ambient sound.
The noise reduction principle of the new AirPods may be divided into two situations: 1. The headset itself does not support active noise reduction, but the new AirPods can be used with earplugs, which is equivalent to using earplugs to achieve passive noise reduction; 2. The new AirPods adopt a semi-open type Active noise reduction, similar products have appeared on the market, such as Huawei FreeBuds 3.
Due to the poor passive noise reduction effect of semi-open headphones, the suppression of high frequency noise may not be so good. However, the new AirPods can be used with earplugs, which can be regarded as solving some of the above problems.
The last is the choice of function. In order to reflect product differentiation, the new AirPods may not support the spatial audio function, currently only AirPods Pro supports this function. For Apple, products with the suffix Pro will be relatively more high-end. The new AirPods are only an upgraded version of AirPods (second generation), so according to the normal logic of making products, it is natural to make corresponding choices in hardware and functions.
Semi-in-ear headphones will be eliminated by the times?
Above, we are analyzing the new AirPods from a product perspective. From an industry perspective, even Apple’s semi-in-ear headphones are moving closer to in-ear headphones. Does this mean that semi-in-ear headphones require Was it eliminated by the times?
Let me talk about the conclusion first, no. Although the design of the new AirPods is similar to that of AirPods Pro, plus it can be used with earplugs, it is still a semi-in-ear headset in nature. Whether to use earplugs to turn it into an in-ear headset depends on the user’s preference.
Since there is no such accurate statistical data on the Internet, here we use Tmall’s monthly sales as a benchmark. According to Tmall’s official website, the monthly sales volume of AirPods is up to 21,000, and that of AirPods Pro is 12,000. It can be seen that there are still not a few consumers who choose semi-in-ear headphones, which shows that the market demand for such headphones is still high.
Whether in-ear headphones will be eliminated is closely related to market demand. For example, some people may wear headphones for more than three hours a day. If they wear in-ear headphones, their ears will become more and more uncomfortable over time. For such users, semi-in-ear headphones are more suitable. On the contrary, some users only wear earphones when commuting out. For example, on the way to work, they don’t like the noise of taking the subway and just want to enjoy music quietly by themselves. At this time, using earphones is just right.
The new AirPods may not be as good as AirPods Pro in terms of noise reduction and functionality, but they can also bring users an experience second only to AirPods Pro. What type of headset the manufacturer launches depends entirely on the needs of the user and the use scenario of the headset.
Therefore, the appearance of the new AirPods is similar to AirPods Pro. It does not mean that Apple has given up the semi-in-ear design. It may also be designed to put more sensors in and achieve health functions. It can only be designed like AirPods Pro, and the earphone cavity becomes larger. This means that more components can be inserted.
Since the new AirPods are currently in the exposure stage, the accuracy of the news has yet to be studied, so all the above points are for reference only.