$99 AirPods could ship as early as next year alongside next-gen AirPods Max

$99 AirPods could ship as early as next year alongside next-gen AirPods Max

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Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the new models could arrive in the second half of 2024, or the first half of 2025. 

Apple’s third-generation AirPods, released in 2021.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

The next generation of Apple’s popular AirPods headphones could launch in the second half of 2024, or first half of 2025, according to a new prediction from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The lineup will reportedly include a more affordable pair of AirPods priced at $99, as well as a new model of Apple’s over-ear AirPods Max headphones (released in 2020).

The rumored $99 AirPods would undercut the price of Apple’s current most affordable AirPods (its second-generation model) by $30. Meanwhile, the third-generation AirPods currently sell for $169 for a model that charges via a wired Lightning cable only, or for $179 with a case that can charge wirelessly via MagSafe. Reducing the price of the entry-level AirPods model mirrors what Apple did with its Apple TV lineup last year, when it launched a new set-top box that was $50 cheaper than its previously most affordable version.

Kuo previously reported that Apple would be launching a new USB-C charging case for “all” its AirPods models in 2023, around a year earlier than he’s now predicting the arrival of the next-gen headphones. But the two reports don’t necessarily contradict each other. After all, Apple could refresh its AirPods charging cases in 2023 but leave the actual earbuds unchanged until 2024 or 2025.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in October that Apple could launch USB-C compatible lineup of AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max “by 2024,” and recently said that Apple’s AirPods lineup is unlikely to get “any updates of note” in 2023.

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Jon Porter

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