Rumours have been swirling around about new models of AirPods and now, another report claims that Apple is working on two new devices for next year. Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo purports in a series of tweets that the tech giant is planning on shipping out the second-generation AirPods Max and an affordable AirPods Lite in either the second half of 2024 or the first half of 2025.
Kuo alleges that the company is aiming for a US$99 (~RM432) price tag for the Lite, which would make them the most affordable AirPods to ever come from Apple. To put it into perspective, the original AirPods cost RM849 when it launched and the latest third-generation model starts slightly cheaper from RM829 for the non-MagSafe variant.
The next-generation AirPods will likely begin mass shipments in 2H24 or 1H25, including more affordable AirPods (with Apple targeting a price of $99) and new AirPods Max, which will be assembled by Luxshare ICT and Hon Teng.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 12, 2023
This is the second time this month that we’ve heard rumours about the AirPods Lite, with analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Intl Tech Research reporting last month that Apple is working on affordable earbuds to compete with cheaper wireless alternatives in the market. Pu claimed that demand for AirPods is expected to drop from 73 million units to 63 million units in 2023, which may cause the company to not launch any new AirPods this year, aligning with Kuo’s prediction.
It’s still unclear what Apple will cut out from the stripped-down version in order to make it affordable when the regular AirPods already lack active noise cancellation despite its relatively high price point. They could potentially get rid of MagSafe compatibility for the Lite’s charging case, as well as the force sensor controls on the stems, going back to standard touch controls — although this is all conjecture at this point.
As for the second-generation AirPods Max, nothing is known about the device yet but it wouldn’t be surprising if it got equipped with Apple’s U1 chip for precision finding, as seen in the new AirPods Pro. The upcoming headset will almost certainly use a USB-C charging port in lieu of the iconic lightning port as the company has revealed that it will have no choice but to acquiesce to the new EU law requiring all new electronics to be fitted with the universal standard starting from 2024.
(Source: Ming-Chi Kuo/Twitter)