Although it’s great to see evidence of a potential successor to the best true wireless earbuds available today, the images themselves suggest any changes could be minimal. The Walkman Blog notes that the earbuds seem to be more compact overall, with a curved underside that could make for a better fit in the ear. The position of the charging LED also appears to have shifted to the front of the case. Otherwise, the design of both earbuds and charging case is very similar to the previous XM4 earbuds.

Unlike the XM4s, however, these images show the XM5s with a glossy plastic finish on the earbuds themselves. But that might be because these are preproduction units submitted to a certification body (the source of these images) and might not represent the finished version. Wireless charging and touch controls return from the XM4s, though an FCC filing from last month suggests these earbuds will use Bluetooth version 5.3, a slight upgrade over the version 5.2 seen in their predecessor. 

It’s not obvious when these earbuds might be officially announced, but The Walkman Blog previously speculated that we could see them launch between May and August this year based on the timeline of previous Sony earbud announcements. Check out the full set of images here.