Apple AirPods update coming later this year with iPhone SE refresh in 2022: report

Apple will begin production of updated AirPods next month, with plans to launch the third-generation earbuds later this year, according to a report of Nikkei. It’s the latest rumor about Apple’s product schedule, which will reportedly include an all-5G iPhone lineup in 2022, including a refreshed iPhone SE with the undisclosed A15 processor.

There have been rumors of a revamp of Apple’s entry-level AirPods for a while, with previous generations launching in 2016 and 2019. Bloomberg reported that the earbuds will have a design similar to the AirPods Pro, with “a new housing and shorter stems protruding from the bottom of each earbud.” In the event that Nikkei is right that production starts next month, we can expect the new AirPods to be unveiled in September along with the iPhone 13.

In addition to the earbuds, Apple may also release new versions of the MacBook Pro later this year, says Nikkei. This rumor seems pretty solid, with previous reports suggesting the new laptops will be available in 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes, featuring next-generation 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 with 5G compatibility that year. Nikkei says the company won’t update the smaller iPhone 12 Mini in 2022 after disappointing sales (although 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 to further rid itself of third-party designs. The new iPhone SE will also reportedly keep its 4.7-inch LCD screens, says Nikkei, making it the obvious choice for consumers who prefer a smaller device. Past Reports about the third-generation SE said it will also keep Apple’s home button and Touch ID sensor.