Scared off by the price tag on those AirPods you’ve been wanting? Just wait for…another year or two.
Apple is reportedly working on a couple of new AirPods products, according to respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo tweeted late Wednesday night that a new $99 model as well as an updated version of the luxury, over-ear AirPods Max are coming. The catch? Don’t expect either to ship until the second half of 2024 at the earliest.
If this is indeed the case, the $99 earbuds would fill a gaping hole in Apple’s product lineup. Right now, the cheapest AirPods you can get are the $130 AirPods 2 and the $170 AirPods 3. While Apple’s low-end AirPods have generally been excellent wireless earbuds, they’ve been lapped by the competition in some respects. Most notably, they don’t have active noise cancelation, something competitors like Amazon have included in its earbuds for $120.
There’s no promise that the new $99 model would include ANC, but considering the price, it’d be a lot more acceptable for them to exclude it. Perhaps the new one would replace the aging AirPods 2, released all the way back in early 2019.
As for AirPods Max, the over-ear headphones Apple sells for $550 are fantastic already, but they aren’t without flaws: There’s no headphone jack; the earcups have long-term comfort issues; and the on-board microphone isn’t great. An upgraded version next year would ideally address some of those issues while adding nifty new features.
Either way, set aside some money now. You have plenty of time.