Sony could once again beat Apple to the punch with these upgraded AirPods Pro rivals

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Back in July 2019, when the AirPods Pro were not a thing yet and that very name was still a relatively well-kept secret, Sony grabbed the headlines by unveiling the impossibly branded and impressively feature-packed WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds with state-of-the-art noise cancellation technology.

Despite beating Apple's rookie active noise-cancelling AirPods effort to stores by several months, those bad boys didn't become popular enough to help their manufacturers rule the thriving TWS (true wireless stereo) industry. But they did put Sony on the global map, and naturally, we expect the same from the WF-1000XM4.

The unannounced noise-cancelling earbuds were purportedly leaked around a month and a half ago for the first time, and now they look just about ready for primetime after scoring regulatory Bluetooth SIG and FCC certifications

Of course, we can never know how quickly after these procedures are done that a company will choose to release a new product, but it seems safe to assume the Sony WF-1000XM4 will see daylight before the third-gen AirPods finally do

When that happens, you can expect the redesigned true wireless earbuds to support the Bluetooth 5.2 standard, up from Bluetooth 5.0 on the WF-1000XM3, which should result into a pretty significant connectivity upgrade. Perhaps more importantly, a newer and undoubtedly faster MediaTek chipset is likely to improve the already stunning noise cancellation, overall sound quality, and battery life.

In a nutshell, every important aspect is all but guaranteed to jump to the next level with the help of several under-the-hood enhancements. Now it remains to be seen how all these internal upgrades and some apparent external changes to both the buds themselves and their bundled charging case will impact the $230 list price of the current-gen WF-1000XM3.

While slightly lower than the $250 normally charged by Apple for its first-gen AirPods Pro, that's higher than the MSRP of many other noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds available today, including Samsung's $200 Galaxy Buds Pro. This is obviously just a hunch, but we may find out everything there is to know about the Sony WF-1000XM4 as early as next week.

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