What you need to know
Sony only launched its unique LinkBuds earlier this year in February, but it seems we're already getting leaks of the next model in the lineup, and they already look like quite an improvement (depending on who you ask).
Images of what could be Sony's next LinkBuds were posted online by leaker SnoopyTech and The Walkman Blog, showing off different angles and colors of the new earbuds. From the looks of it, the LinkBuds S, as they'll likely be called, will feature a more conventional design similar to many of the best wireless earbuds, complete with silicon ear tips for better isolation. However, in place of the giant gaping hole found on the original Sony LinkBuds, these will apparently feature a large vent that could aid in audio passthrough.
According to SnoopyTech, the LinkBuds S will be able to seamlessly "shift from ambient sound to advanced noise-canceling and enable automatic playback that learns from your behaviour." This sounds a bit like Adaptive Volume on the original LinkBuds, a feature that raises or lowers the volume based on your environment (although, in my testing, it was very aggressive). Given the lack of an opening, these may take it a step further by switching between audio passthrough and noise-canceling modes. The original LinkBuds also feature Speak to Chat which was a favorite feature of mine, and it looks like it'll make a return here in some shape or form.
In my testing, I wasn't a huge fan of Sony's open-ear design, although I understood their purpose and thought they worked well for Sony's intentions. However, this left users without a way to completely block outside noise, something that should at least be an option. It looks like Sony might give users the option this time around, thanks to some software enhancements.
Not much is known about these earbuds, including battery life, price, and availability. However, given the nature of the leak, it may not be too long before we hear something official from Sony.