It’s been almost two years since Sony launched this WF-1000XM3, its flagship real wireless earbuds. Since then, we’ve been waiting patiently for what kind of follow-up Sony would do, especially given how that is Noise canceling real wireless earbuds Category has exploded in the meantime. Today thanks to one anonymous poster on RedditWe may finally have our first look at Sony’s next ANC earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 – and they’re none other than Sony’s efforts to date.
The image, which supposedly came from the product packaging and not the actual earbuds themselves, shows a rounded body with a ventilated opening near the top and a very distinctive copper cylinder shape protruding from the main earbud.
The top vent – if Sony’s design language is consistent – is likely the location of one or more microphones. The same detail appears on the Sony WH-1000XM3 and XM4. However, we can only guess the function of this cylinder. It can be a touch control, a physical button, or a special sensor. Or maybe a mix of all three.
The earbud looks like memory foam, a move away from Sony’s use of silicone sleeves for the WF-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM3 WF-SP800N. In contrast to these models, however, the leaked image shows a much more compact overall shape that doesn’t protrude nearly as much from the ear as the XM3 or SP800N. Based on the proportions of the earbud to the body in the leaked image, I am guessing these earbuds will be a bit bigger than that Jabra Elite 85t, but smaller than previous Sony models.
As exciting as it is to think that we are looking at a leaked photo of a real product, it is also possible that it is a fake one. As others have noted, the font used in the image is close together but doesn’t quite fit in perfectly with Sony’s recent product packaging. It’s also a bit strange to think that the poster on Reddit has a full product box in its possession but only posted a single (blurry) photo.
What Sony has in store for us in these not yet announced earphones – if so are real – some things are no-brainers. They have active noise cancellation (ANC). The battery life is at least six hours between charges. They have a customizable EQ and controls that can be customized through the Sony Headphones app. They will automatically pause and resume music features when you remove / reinsert them. You will work with that Sony 360 Reality Audio Format. They also offer optional access to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These are all functions of the current WF-1000XM3.
What Sony is likely to add is: wireless charging, an earbud fit test, a way to quickly toggle between ANC and ambient mode, better control over features like volume, and a kind of official IPX rating (The current WF-1000XM3 can tolerate some moisture, but is not officially waterproof.)
I suspect the price will stay the same at $ 320 because that’s exactly what Sony did when it replaced the WH-1000XM3 with the XM4 model. Given the timing of the WF-1000XM3 in August 2019, I think we’ll see the WF-1000XM4 no later than August 2021.
As soon as we learn more, we will update this summary.