Apple plans to launch the 4th generation AirPods in 2024, and according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, two versions will debut in the second half of next year.
Gurman said the new AirPods will emerge as Apple focuses on its wearables business next year, especially with the debut of the highly anticipated Vision Pro headset. Also expected are updates to its Apple Watch, which appears to be on the verge of being banned.
Apple also plans to phase out 2nd and 3rd-generation AirPods by launching a new AirPod model with updated features the older models don’t have. The 3rd generation model is similar enough to the 2nd generation AirPods that customers have chosen the less expensive older version. The only real difference is the design.
AirPods 4 will have an updated design that resembles a mix of the current AirPods and the AirPods Pro but with shorter stems. Gurman predicts the fit will be improved, though Apple supposedly isn’t adding silicone ear tips.
Additionally, Apple will redesign the case with speakers for Find My alerts and add a USB-C charging port in place of the Lightning Port.
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
AirPod Pros already have Active Noise Cancellation, which will be included in the higher-end version of the 4th generation model. This offers a more affordable option for people with noise sensitivities, but Apple is taking it one step further by adding additional hearing aid features. The Federal Drug Administration approved over-the-counter hearing aids in 2022. Apple plans to update software later next year to create an alternative to traditional hearing aids that will be available to consumers at a more budget-friendly price.
Additionally, Apple plans to add hearing tests to alert users if they are experiencing hearing loss.
Fourth-generation AirPods are expected to launch in September of 2024 alongside the new iPhone models. AirPods Max will also get an upgrade next year, debuting new colors and a USB-C charging port. AirPods Pro will see its next update in 2025, which Apple said will include a new design “focused on comfort” and a faster chip.