Apple is said to be planning to launch new AirPods with a completely new design early next year.
Allegedly the new AirPods 3 will combine the design of the AirPods Pro model (that launched in October 2019) with the AirPods 2 design (from March 2019).
Either the "stems" of the AirPods 3 will be shortened, as per the Pro version, or they get a new silicone earpiece. We think the latter is unlikely, as the third generation will no doubt lack the noise suppression feature of the Pro models.
This theory is echoed by Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo who said back in June that he expects the next generation AirPods to share elements of their design with the AirPods Pro, but not the active noise cancellation.
MacRumors suggests that these updated AirPods could be what have been referred to as AirPods Pro Lite.