Apple is planning an “end-to-end” refresh of its AirPods wireless earbuds. The plans include a revamped version of the original AirPods and AirPods Max, due for release in 2024, and a new Pro model in 2025, sources close to the matter told Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
The refreshed AirPods will reportedly sport a new earbud design and case style as well as improved audio quality.
A bigger reboot of the AirPods line could reinvigorate interest in the Apple accessories, which have proven to be popular additions since they launched in 2016. Recent enthusiasm for the accessories, especially the newest versions, have waned with few enhancements between generations, resulting in customers opting to buy the cheaper, older versions.
Bloomberg said Apple plans to phase out the second- and third-generation AirPods later next year and replace them with two fourth-generation models. The new earbuds will be priced similarly, but look like a mix of the third-generation and Pro models, along with short stems.
In addition, the more expensive of the two models will support noise cancellation and an updated charging case with speakers for Find My alerts, according to the report. On the other hand, the new lower-priced will just get an improved fit. Both new iterations of the wireless earbuds will include a USB-C charging port in the case, with Apple moving toward bringing that standard across all of its products. Older versions still use a Lightning port, similar to iPhones before the latest generation.
Users can also expect an update to the AirPods Max and the AirPods Pro. Both will get new color options, and the Pro model will reportedly see a new design, chip, and hearing health features in 2025.
At launch, Apple users were skeptical about the wireless earbuds in the wake of the tech giant killing off its devices’ traditional headphone jack. Initial memes made fun of the Q-tip like stem hanging from the ear. But eventually, AirPods took off in popularity and Apple built out its product lineup to include the second- and third-generation AirPods – released in 2019 and 2021 respectively, the AirPods Pro, and the AirPods Max.
Apple’s upcoming “Scary Fast” event is likely to focus on new Mac computers, so we might not get any details on the new earbuds, but the tech giant could always toss in a surprise teaser.
Apple wasn’t immediately available for comment.