Leaked Photos Give Us a Peek at the Next Generation of Sony's Excellent Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

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Photo: Gizmodo

Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds were one of the first pairs of wireless in-ears to include noise-canceling that was nearly as good as what you’ll find in full-size headphones. But they’re now two years old and in desperate need of an update, which, according to new leaked photos and details, could arrive as soon as next month.

The Sony WF-1000XM3s still sound fantastic but their noise-canceling capabilities are starting to lag when compared to the competitions’ more recent releases like Master & Dynamics’ MW08, and Jabra’s Elite 85t. The WF-1000XM3s are also much larger than most similarly capable ANC wireless earbuds released over the past year and are due for not only an update but a much-needed redesign.


In February, a blurry, grainy photo of what appeared to be a prototype of the new WF-1000XM4s was leaked, but over the weekend additional images were reportedly discovered and shared by The Walkman Blog which revealed the new wireless earbuds from every angle—both the left and right side versions—as well as their updated charging case.


The most obvious change is that the new WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are much smaller than the WF-1000XM3s, and presumably lighter as well as a result which should make it easier to actually keep them in your ears. The proximity sensor for detecting when they’re being worn is located on the underside, as are the charging contacts, while a single opening for a microphone can be found on top. The large circular pad will function as a touchpad for controlling music playback and other functions, which is a feature carried over from the WF-1000XM3s that hopefully means that the new WF-1000XM4 will include improved water resistance as well—something the originals were really lacking.

Photos of the WF-1000XM4's charging case were also revealed, showing a much smaller footprint and faster charging over USB-C. It’s also been rumored, based on leaked illustrations detailing a Sony Xperia smartphone’s battery sharing feature, that the WF-1000XM4's charging case will support wireless charging, a feature found on many other high-end wireless earbuds at this point.


Details about pricing and more specific technical specs including battery life and charge times aren’t known yet, but based on recent changes Sony has made to its FCC filing for the new earbuds, they could be announced and released as early as next month, in the first few weeks of June.