Apple's own code hints at Beats Studio Buds+ and brand new AirPods

The latest beta of iOS contains some big hints about Apple's next true wireless earbuds

Beats Studio Buds
(Image credit: Beats)

Not all Apple leaks come from outside the company. Sometimes they're in Apple's own software, which seems to have confirmed the existence of two new sets of the best true wireless earbuds: the Beats Studio Buds, and the Apple AirPods.

According to MacRumors, the release candidate of iOS 16.4 – the nearly-final version of the code that's designed to iron out the last few bugs before the update its released – contains references to a new AirPods model and a new AirPods case too. 

Not only that, but there's a reference to an improved version of the Beats Studio Buds too. 

Lots of Apple devices have leaked this way before – the always-on display of the iPhone 14 Pro was leaked via code in the first iOS 16 beta – so it looks like these products aren't just the imaginings of someone on Twitter hungry for clicks.

So what is Tim Cook cooking?

What to expect from Apple's next Beats and AirPods

According to reports by 9to5Mac, the Beats Studio Buds+ will look very similar to the current model but would have an upgrade to Apple's H1 or W1 wireless chip. However, MacRumors reports that the Studio Buds+ will continue to use a Beats chip rather than one from the AirPods. 

The new Buds+ are expected to have improved Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode. 

As for the mysterious new AirPods, there's basically no information about what they might be: while the code details a new model number, there haven't been any solid rumours of AirPods upgrades and a new version isn't widely expected: the AirPods (3rd Gen) were only launched in October 2021.

One possible explanation is that rather than a brand new model of AirPods, the code could refer to a slightly changed version of one of Apple's current AirPods models – perhaps AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C rather than Lightning in the charging case to comply with EU charger regulations. The same regulations are driving the iPhone 15's migration to USB-C too.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (