Apple is a company that thrives on experimentation and innovation. And yet there are some things the company is unwilling to touch, such as its wireless earbuds, which have been stuck in their monochromatic state for more than three years. But it turns out the Cupertino giant was close to changing that, and I wish it had.
According to a post by rare Apple products collector KosutamiSan on Twitter, the company had planned to add color options to AirPods when the first generation were released in 2016. The photos posted show that Apple considered releasing AirPods cases in Pink, ProductRED, Purple, Black and Blonde, to match them with iPhone 7 options at the time. The plan, however, was ultimately canceled, and the case is now only available in white.
This is just the latest piece of evidence that Apple is willing to explore new options for some of its older products. In recent months, we’ve seen photos of a MagSafe charger prototype in a variety of colors and an iPod Classic with an orange power button that’s far from the classic iPod monochrome. It’s not clear why the company decided to cancel its plans for colorful AirPods, but it certainly wasn’t because of production costs or inventory management — the company probably could have made them without too much trouble.
The lack of colorful options is unfortunate because the upcoming third-generation AirPods have some appealing improvements to their internal design. Apple is adding a new control sensor to the case that allows users to switch between Siri and Control Center, and it also will let you adjust volume with swipes on the outside of the case. There are other internal changes, too, including improved sound quality and the ability to answer a phone call by saying “Hey Siri” without raising your voice.
Apple could release the redesigned AirPods this month, but the company doesn’t typically unveil redesigned products until its March event. It’s also possible that the company will wait until fall, in which case it may unveil them alongside its refreshed iPad Pro models.
I hope the redesigned AirPods will address some of my complaints, such as their inability to seal in my ears and poor microphone range, and I’m sure it will add other cool features like a ring of micro led lights that can be animated on the base of each pod and an option for more active noise cancellation. If that happens, I’ll be the first to pick up a pair. Until then, my expensive custom paint job is my only option.