Details of Sony’s next-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones have been leaked, revealing a new design and more advanced specs over the company’s current premium offering.
When it comes to noise-canceling wireless audio, Sony’s flagship WH-1000MX4 headphones are among the best around and arguably the AirPods Max’s biggest rival, so what Sony has next up its sleeve naturally elicits interest of Apple users.
According to an unnamed retail source who spoke to a Germany-based company TechnikNewsSony’s WH-1000XM4 successor will sport a redesign that includes thinner articulating arms connecting the earcups to a narrower headband, reminiscent of the Bose 700. This has also led to speculation that the redesigned headband is metal rather than plastic .
The padding on the earcups seems to be more substantial, but Sony has apparently ditched the collapsible folding mechanism that folded one cup into the other, although as The edge notes, the case doesn’t seem likely to take up much more space when stored.
According to the retail source, the WH-1000XM5 will have a battery life of up to 40 hours with active noise cancellation, which is 10 hours longer than the XM4. Total charge time is said to be 3.5 hours over USB-C, about 30 minutes longer than the current generation.
All three microphones have reportedly been repositioned, and an NC/Ambient button replaces the “Custom” one found on the XM4s, though the button is likely still reprogrammable to activate voice assistants and the like. These boxes are also said to have an additional ANC processor and a new audio driver, suggesting improved noise cancellation and sound, but details are scarce on that front.
The release date of the XM5 headphones is still unknown, but they appeared in FCC documents a few months ago, so they should arrive this year. Until then, the $349 XM4 remains very popular with Apple users who are unhappy with the relative heaviness and high price of the $549 AirPods Max.
There are currently no rumors suggesting that a new version of AirPods Max might be coming in the near future, but it should be noted that Apple has reportedly removed several features from the originals like interchangeable headbands and a more affordable sport option, from so they might still appear in a future mockup. Apple could also add support for lossless Apple Music playback, which would require a new audio protocol with higher bandwidth than Bluetooth provides.