While there were no major revisions to the AirPods lineup in 2023, Apple is preparing a big shakeup for this year. Headlining the updates in 2024 will be a complete overhaul of the entry-level AirPods lineup. Here’s everything we know so far.
Apple’s current AirPods lineup
Apple currently sells four different versions of AirPods:
AirPods 4 are coming later this year
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has extensively reported on Apple’s plans to release AirPods (4th generation) in 2024. According to Gurman, Apple will discontinue AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 this year, and replace them with two different AirPods 4 variants.
The AirPods 4 models will reportedly feature a design that “looks like a blend” of AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, including short stems. Neither of the AirPods 4 variants will feature replaceable tips like AirPods Pro, but they will “offer an improved fit.”
What about features? Bloomberg says that Apple is planning to differentiate the two AirPods 4 models in a few different ways. The higher-end AirPods 4 will offer noise cancellation, while the lower-end model will not.
Both versions of AirPods 4 will include a new charging case that uses USB-C for charging. The charging case included with the higher-end AirPods 4, however, will also include built-in speakers for improved Find My integration.
According to Bloomberg, the new AirPods 4 models are due for a release later in 2024. Typically, Apple has released new AirPods around the same time as new iPhones in September.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also reported that Apple is working on a low-cost version of AirPods that will be released in 2024. Kuo has suggested that the so-called “AirPods Lite” could be priced at $99. Analyst Jeff Pu has also said that AirPods Lite are in the works.
Whether Kuo and Pu are referring to the same lower-end version of AirPods 4 as Bloomberg, or a different product entirely, is unclear.
What about AirPods Pro and AirPods Max?
Also in 2024, Apple will release a new version of AirPods Max. Unfortunately, the only change here will be a switch from Lightning to USB-C for charging. According to Bloomberg, Apple isn’t planning any other upgrades for AirPods Max this year. AirPods Max will continue to use the same H1 chip that they’ve used since 2020, which means they will continue to miss out on a number of modern AirPods features.
For AirPods Pro fans, rumors are that Apple isn’t planning an update until 2025. This revision will include a new design and a new chip, among other new features. Those new features could include health-focused capabilities, such as those related to hearing health.
To recap, here’s the forthcoming AirPods roadmap:
- Later in 2024: AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 discontinued and replaced with two AirPods 4 models
- Later in 2024: AirPods Max updated to switch from Lightning to USB-C
- Sometime in 2025: New AirPods Pro with an updated design, new chip, and health features.
Are you planning to buy new AirPods this year? Let us know down in the comments.
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