Cheaper AirPods and the AirPods Max 2 could finally land later this year

Cheaper AirPods and the AirPods Max 2 could finally land later this year

It’s been a bit quiet on the AirPods front in recent times – all we got in 2023 was a USB-C refresh for the AirPods Pro – but it looks like 2024 could be busier, with a new report suggesting 4th-gen AirPods and the AirPods Max 2 are on the way.

This comes from well-known Apple analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors), and the AirPods are being described as “lower-cost” earbuds. We’re not sure exactly what that means, but previous rumors have pointed to two versions of the AirPods 4 making an appearance, with one at an “entry-level” price and one at a “mid-tier” price.

Quite how those two price tiers are going to match up with the current (and rather confusing) line-up remains to be seen: Apple currently sells the AirPods 3 from 2022 for $179 / £169 / AU$279 and the AirPods 2 from 2019 for $129 / £129 / AU$219. It sounds as though both those models will be replaced.

We’re expecting a tweak to the design so that the AirPods fit better, and the switch to USB-C is a given. The mid-tier models are also rumored to be getting active noise cancellation as well, in what sounds like a pretty major upgrade.

To the Max

As for the AirPods Max 2, the leaks have been pointing towards a 2024 launch for some time – although we weren’t that impressed with the revelations last year that the 2nd-gen cans would switch to USB-C and get new colors… and that would be about it.

If Apple wants to keep up with the best headphones on the market, it might need to do a little more than that to tempt consumers into picking up the AirPods Max 2. The current AirPods Max retail for $549 / £499 / AU$899, which is on the expensive side.

This new leak doesn’t give us any more information about what’s coming with the AirPods 4 or the AirPods Max 2, only that production on these devices is due to ramp up in the last quarter of the year, pointing to a launch over the holiday season.

There’s plenty of time for more leaks between now and then. In the meantime, Apple is being tipped to launch new iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month, and it should be sharing a whole host of software update news at WWDC 2024 on June 10.

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David Nield

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