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Apple's new 2024 AirPods could come with lofty ambitions

With a new design and USB-C, Apple is planning to produce and sell a whole lot of AirPods, even more than previous models.
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Published onMarch 18, 2024

Apple Airpods Pro Gen 2 vs. Apple Airpods Pro Gen 1 Buds Comparison.
TL;DR
  • Apple is gearing up for the production of the next AirPods lineup, with plans to produce up to 25 million earbuds, which is even more than previous models.
  • The new AirPods in the entry-level and mid-tier are expected to feature a new design, better fit, and USB-C cases. The mid-tier variant could get ANC and Find My features for the case.
  • Apple is also working on a hearing-test feature for AirPods, while the AirPods Pro could get a hearing aid mode.

Apple’s AirPods are one of the company’s most successful products, generating billions of dollars annually and popularizing TWS earbuds as a whole. The company has largely avoided making wholesale changes to the lineup or even refreshing them annually. But in 2024, we’re due for an overhaul to the AirPods lineup that better differentiates between the products at various price tiers.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is gearing up to produce the next AirPods line with a record-setting run. Apple plans to produce 20 million to 25 million earbuds, which is even more than previous models. Production is expected to kick off in May, with release expected around September or October.

This lineup refresh will be riding on the new models B768(E) and B768(M), where E stands for “entry” and M stands for “mid-tier.” These models will replace the second- and third-generation AirPods currently in Apple’s lineup. They are expected to come with a new design, improved fit, and charging cases with USB-C. The mid-tier AirPods are expected to get Active Noise Cancellation and Find My speakers in the charging case.

Apple is also expected to add a hearing aid mode for the AirPods Pro when it rolls out the iOS 18 stable update later in the year. It is also working on a hearing-test feature for the AirPods.

Beyond the entry and mid-level AirPods, the AirPods Pro are also expected to be refreshed, but not before next year. The AirPods Max are due for a USB-C refresh, but the report does not mention an upgrade for them. However, if we are allowed to speculate, we bet that a USB-C refresh will be coming this year itself before the EU’s policy on USB-C goes into effect by the end of the year.

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