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Apple rumours claim budget-friendly 'AirPods Lite' could be coming to market later this year

Apple rumours claim budget-friendly 'AirPods Lite' could be coming to market later this year

Apple fans can expect them to cost around the $100 mark.

AirPods have become the new standard of portable listening.

As of Q3 2023, Apple accounted for 21% of the true wireless stereo (TWS) headset market.

However, their premium price tag puts them out of reach of many customers.

Fortunately, the tech giant is rumoured to launch a more budget-friendly alternative later this year, alongside the AirPods Max 2.

Supply chain analyst Jeff Pu referred to these entry-level earbuds as 'AirPods Lite' and said customers can expect to see them go for around $100, which is way under the tech company's price benchmark.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

More specifically, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo projects Apple to price the mini gadgets at exactly $99, undercutting the current cheapest AirPods 2 model by $29.

According to Pu, AirPods Lite could launch as early as 2024 and be manufactured by Foxconn, one of Apple’s main contract manufacturers in India.

With AirPod sales to drop by 4% in 2024, totalling 55 million units, launching entry-level products like the Lite option will help the tech company to 'ramp up' sales in the fourth quarter of this year.

Apple fans can expect to see the products hitting shelved around this upcoming September or October, according to Pu, which is around the same time the launch of the iPhone 16 is expected.

Reports show that Apple is gearing up the shipping of 20-25 million pairs of new AirPods Lite.

Justin Lambert / Getty
Justin Lambert / Getty

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has revealed that Apple is also planning to introduce AirPods 4 this year, two different models in fact.

The upcoming versions have been internally named B768(E) and B768(M), in which E stands for 'entry' and M stands for 'mid-tier'.

Replacing the second and third generation AirPods, both AirPods 4 models are expected to offer a different design as well as a USB-C charging case.

However, only the higher-end option will support features like noise cancellation.

Currently, Apple offers the following AirPod versions:

  • AirPods (2nd generation) at $129
  • AirPods (3rd generation) at $169 (with Lightning Charging Case) or $179 (with MagSafe Charging Case)
  • AirPods Pro (2nd generation) at $249
  • AirPods Max at $549

If anything, Apple fans hope the rumours of the budget option don't tear away from the one thing you can't negotiate on earphones - sound quality. No amount of price tag or fancy design can mask the crucial function of a decent pair of earphones.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Justin Lambert / Getty