Ever since rumours suggested that Apple is expanding its AirPods lineup with a full-size model, it did not take long for people to identify clues of its existence. Perhaps the first evidence that suggests the product is on the way was from an unreleased copy of iOS 14. After some extensive data mining, two icons of over-ear headphones were spotted. Now, a beta version of iOS 14.3 in the hands of developers with an updated icon hints at what the speculated AirPods Studio might look like.
Last month, renowned leaker Jon Prosser stated that Apple originally intended to unveil the headphones in one of its recent hardware events. This was apparently pushed back to 2021 after early testing results suggested the ergonomics needed improvement. It seems the headband might make the headphones too tight which can become uncomfortable during extended usage.
Contributing writer for MacRumors and iOS developer Steve Mosser stumbled upon a video clip in the iOS 14.3 beta version of Find My app. According to his findings, it will be used to locate the AirTags as well as a pair of over-ear headphones. The footage shows a magnifying glass circling around the three icons. The middle and right ones appear to represent a backpack and luggage, respectively.
The left-most image, on the other hand, could be a hint at what the final retail design of the AirPods Studio might be. For now, Apple has not announced when iOS 14.3 will officially start seeding to supported devices, but it is likely early in 2021. Sources pointed out that this is not the first time a new product was unintentionally revealed by a firmware update.
In 2019 – shortly before Apple's hardware event -- developers working with iOS 13.2 beta discovered an image of an unannounced pair of true-wireless earphones which turned out to be the AirPods Pro. Fast-forward to 2020 and it might be the same scenario all over again as the Find My app icon provides a silhouette of the rumoured over-ear headphones.
Details surrounding the AirPods Studio are still minimal, but supply chain insiders claim it will have removable ear pads. Originally, the headband was intended to be replaceable as well, but might no longer be the case based on the feedback from preliminary testing.