Sony’s WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-canceling headphones are a bestseller, but they’re due for an update. Now, we have some clues about what to expect from the next version of the headphones. A filing with the Brazilian telecommunications agency, Anatel, appears to show photos of the new XM4 headphones — which look extremely similar, if not identical, to the previous version, as well as giving some information about what new features could be expected in the highly anticipated XM4s.
The filing was identified by Everton Favretto, a Brazilian tech enthusiast who first tweeted the information that Anatel had approved the headphones:
— Everton Favretto (@evefavretto) March 5, 2020
The filing includes a user manual, as identified by The Verge, which includes more information about what we could expect from the upcoming headphones. However, much of the information about the headphones such as their weight in grams and their power ratio is not available, instead replaced by “XXX” placeholders.
There is some information available, though. The most noteworthy piece of information is that the XM4 headphones are expected to have 40 hours of battery life, which is up from 30 hours for the XM3s. That’s likely due to the XM4’s use of Bluetooth version 5, an upgrade from the Bluetooth version 4.2 used in the XM3s. The rated power consumption has dropped too, from 8W down to 2W.
The XM3s are some of the most popular wireless noise-canceling headphones out there, even named the gadget of the decade by Digital Trends’ mobile tech writer Shubham Agarwal. The headphones already offer excellent noise cancellation, comfort, and substantial battery life. With the newest version apparently offering even longer battery life, it seems like they will only be getting better.
However, there probably aren’t enough new features to necessitate an upgrade if you already own the XM3s. From the looks of the filing, in addition to the power consumption and battery changes, there is just one new feature: A “speak to chat” option which could be a more convenient form of integration for voice assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa.
Currently, the XM3s have two buttons, one for power and one which can either toggle noise cancellation modes or activate the voice assistant, but not both. The new version could address this by having the voice assistant activate automatically when speech is detected.