Photo: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

The current Apple audio lineup consists of three AirPods—wireless earbuds— and one over-ear headphones—AirPods Max. The three AirPods include the $130 entry-level second-gen AirPods, the $170 midrange third-gen AirPods, and the $250 high-end second-gen AirPods Pro. The insanely premium AirPods Max over-ear headphones retail at a whopping $550.

Two New Fourth-Gen AirPods

In 2024, Apple seems to be doing away with its second and third-gen AirPods altogether and replacing them with two fourth-gen AirPods. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts these will be priced similarly to the models they’re replacing.

From what has been reported so far, it looks like there will be a high-end and budget-friendly fourth-gen AirPods model. ANC will only be offered on the high-end one. This one will also sport a speaker in its charging case, which will ring when you trigger the Find My location-tracking feature.

MacRumors tell us that both fourth-gen AirPods versions will apparently get a revamped charging case, an improved earbud design that fits better, and enhanced sound quality. Thankfully, they’ll also get Type-C charging in accordance with the new EU law. In terms of looks, both models will look like a blend of the second and third-gen AirPods, according to 9to5Mac.

Gurman expects these to go into production in May 2024 and be released around September or October.

AirPods Lite

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that we might also see a $99 AirPods version, which is so far called the AirPods Lite. Jeff Pu, at 9to5Mac, has confirmed the claim. He adds that it’s currently unclear what these buds will feature, but they will compete with non-Apple earbuds.

Second-gen AirPods Max

After four long years, the AirPods Max is finally getting an update. Gurman predicts a Fall launch for the second-gen Max, too. However, these will reportedly use the same H1 chip as the first iteration. They won’t sport any other significant changes either. The only two developments we know of at the moment are fresh colors and a Type-C port.

Since the AirPods Max haven’t been revised since they were first released in 2020, this much-awaited update might leave consumers wanting more.

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