APPLE

When will Apple release new AirPods? Here's what we know

While there were no major changes to the AirPods lineup in 2023, Apple is preparing a big shakeup for this year. The main update for 2024 will be a complete overhaul of the entry-level AirPods line. Here's everything we know so far.

Apple’s current line of AirPods

Apple currently sells five different versions of AirPods:

  • AirPods (2nd generation) – $129.00
  • AirPods (3rd generation) – $169 (with Lightning Charging Case) or $179 (with MagSafe Charging Case)
  • AirPods Pro (2nd generation) – $249.00
  • AirPods Max – $549.00

AirPods 4 coming later this year

Mark Gurman from Bloomberg spoke in detail about 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 variants of AirPods 4.

The AirPods 4 models will reportedly have a design that “looks like a mix” of the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, including short stems. Neither AirPods 4 variant will have interchangeable tips like the AirPods Pro, but they will “offer an improved fit.

What about functions? Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to differentiate the two AirPods 4 models in several different ways. The higher-end AirPods 4 will feature 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. However, the charging case included with the more expensive AirPods 4 will also include built-in speakers for improved Find My integration. According to Bloomberg, new AirPods 4 models should be released later in 2024. Apple typically releases new AirPods around the same time as new iPhones, in September.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reported that Apple is working on a low-cost version of AirPods that will be released in 2024. Kuo suggested that the so-called “AirPods Lite” 8221; may cost $99. Analyst Jeff Pu also reported that AirPods Lite is in development.

It's unclear whether Kuo and Pu are referring to the same lower-end version of AirPods 4 as Bloomberg, or a completely different product.

Apple thinks AirPods 4 will be a hit

AirPods 4 are expected to begin production in May, with Apple planning a fall release, likely at the same time as the iPhone 16.

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 the switch from Lightning to USB-C for charging. According to Bloomberg, Apple is not planning any other updates for AirPods Max this year. The AirPods Max will continue to use the same H1 chip they've used since 2020, meaning they'll still lack a number of modern AirPods features.

For AirPods Pro fans, there are rumors that Apple isn't planning an update until 2025. This version will include a new design and a new chip, as well as other new features. These new features may include health-focused capabilities, such as those related to hearing health.

Summary

To summarize, here is the upcoming roadmap for AirPods:

  • Later in 2024: AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 will be discontinued and replaced by two AirPods 4 models.
  • Later in 2024: AirPods Max refresh from Lightning to USB-C.
  • Sometime in 2025: New AirPods Pro with updated design, new chip and health features.

Are you planning to buy new AirPods this year? Let us know in the comments.

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