The AirPods Pro stem gives the earphones a unique look and features convenient touch controls.
This story is part of an Apple event that fully covers the latest news from Apple headquarters.
There are many things Apple can change about the AirPods Pro and improve them. Extends battery life. Make the pairing process on your Mac device more seamless.
But do not remove the stem.
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Bloomberg reports that Apple could modify the next-generation AirPods Pro to eliminate the protruding tip and bring it closer to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and Beats Studio Buds. These new wireless earphones aren’t scheduled to appear at Apple’s September 14th event, but Bloomberg reports that it could be launched in 2022.
Technology miniaturization is usually a good thing, and Apple has historically done it. In 2005, the ultra-thin iPod Nano replaced the thicker iPod Mini for comparison. And the bezelless iPhone X surprised Apple fans when it debuted in 2017. But in contrast to this downsizing approach, I really love the AirPods stem. Yes, they may have looked stupid in 2016, but they were part of the cultural norms before roaming around with earpieces. (Needless to say, the original AirPods stem is significantly longer than the AirPods Pro.)
But these days, they become statement pieces and status symbols, not hidden. The stem also has some useful advantages that make the AirPods Pro more comfortable and easier to use than round earphones.
So don’t change the look and feel of Apple and AirPods too much.
Read more: Five great AirPods Pro alternatives that are much cheaper
The stem gives the AirPods a distinctive look and makes them stand out
AirPods have an unmistakable look, and that’s mainly because of their stems. If you see someone wearing shiny white earphones with a long tip, you know they’re wearing AirPods.
The AirPods Pro’s stem is significantly shorter than the standard AirPods’ stem, but it’s long enough to visually distinguish Apple’s wireless earphones from other earphones. You can’t think of another pair of wireless earphones that are as easily identifiable as AirPods.
If the AirPods don’t become such a status symbol, it’s not that important. The prominent stem of the original AirPods was initially ridiculed, and even the AirPods Pro was quite ridiculed when it was announced in 2019.
However, public perceptions of AirPods changed at some point during that time frame. AirPods, like the iPhone, quickly became a signal of wealth and affluence. Viral Tweets from late 2018 joked that AirPods owners are the wealthiest people in the world, even wealthier than Amazon CEO and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Top 10 wealthiest people
1. Airpod user 2. Amazon CEO3. Bill Gates 4. People who refuse to shop at Walmart 5. Mark Zuckerberg 6. Jay-Z7. Those who say, “Let’s get this bread.” 8. Floyd Mayweather 9. Oprah 10.People whose bio contains “” or “”
(@Khaleed_id) December 18, 2018
Sometimes I know people are better than them because I wear my airpods without playing music in them
Antoniogarza (@ antiniiogarza21) December 23, 2018
Airpods are meant to show people that you are rich. Two AirPods-Abundant. One AirPods-Very rich.
svs (@_ svs_) August 10, 2019
As iMore pointed out, during the 2020 blockade, AirPods were everywhere on TV, as producers had to shoot remotely. Part of the reason AirPods got this level of attention in the first place is that they were so well recognized. Does removing the stem also mean removing that unique difference?
Yes, there are other long-tipped wireless earphones, such as the Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro. The difference, however, is that Apple pioneered the appearance of long stems. That is, the design is still commonly associated with AirPods. Many of Apple’s competitors have already released stem-free wireless earphones.
The next-generation AirPods 3, which may be launched this year, is expected to retain that hint. However, it is unclear if that applies to future models. The next version of the standard AirPods will look like the current AirPods Pro, according to reports from Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. To be precise, it’s reasonable to assume that Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 design decisions could penetrate into future models of standard AirPods.
The AirPods Pro stem is really useful
You can use the AirPods Pro stem to control media playback.
Angela Lang / CNET
Again, I really like the AirPods stem because I thought it was mostly practical. First, it gives you more space to actually grab the earpiece, making it easier to insert and remove the earphones. Every time I wear an AirPods or AirPods Pro, I don’t feel like I’m screwing in a peg or pushing a button into my ear.
More importantly, the AirPods Pro’s stem is a better place for touch control than the earpiece itself. With AirPods Pro, you can play or pause music by pressing a sensor on the earphone’s stem. Press the stem twice to skip forward, and press it three times to skip backward.
This is not the case with other wireless earphones such as Samsung, Sony, Bose and Amazon. These headphones have touch sensors or buttons on the actual earphones to control music playback and switch active noise cancellation.
This means that you need to tap or press the earphones to activate these controls via touch gestures. This can make you feel uncomfortable and put more pressure on your ears. I’m sure there are many people who like this and prefer earphones that are less noticeable (or sound better) than AirPods or AirPods Pro. But I’m not one of those people.
In addition, it’s easy to accidentally trigger the touch controls on these other earphones, as they usually need to be pushed back into the ear during a workout.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 has a rounded design with no protruding ear tips.
Apple also already has a best-in-class design on the current AirPods Pro. I’ve been testing Samsung, Amazon, Sony, Beats, and Anker earphones for years and found that Apple earphones offer the most comfortable and secure fit.
My colleague David Carnoy pointed out the AirPods Pro’s award-winning design as one of the main reasons why the AirPods Pro ranks in my favorite wireless earphones, even if the AirPods Pro doesn’t sound as good as its rivals.
You can’t expect AirPods to look the same forever. It’s not a way for technology to advance. If Apple removes the stem from the next AirPods Pro, it means packing more technology into a tighter package, so many consider it an engineering feat. Just as removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and later seemed to lead to better cameras and other improvements in the years that followed.
Of course, we don’t know when that will happen until Apple announces the second-generation AirPods Pro. But if they get a new look, I hope Apple finds a way to keep them feeling as clear as AirPods.
Apple has a history of devising a variety of input methods for new types of wireless devices, such as the Apple Watch’s digital crown. Maybe whatever Apple came up with next would be better, and I wouldn’t miss the stem at all.
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