A key Apple tipster, the staggeringly well-informed Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, has claimed that new AirPods are coming, indeed are nearly here. Here’s what we know
Last October, Apple expanded its in-ear headphones range. The AirPods were joined by AirPods Pro with a new design. The Pro version also offered three different sizes of ear tips for a better fit and spectacularly good noise-canceling.
AirPods Pro sound fantastic (you can read my review here) but they’re not cheap. So, wouldn’t it be great if there was another AirPods option, perhaps at a lower price?
In the last few hours, Jon Prosser has tweeted that “New AirPods (which were supposed to be at the March Event) are now ready to go. Probably alongside the MacBook Pro next month.”
Well, this is exciting. So, what should we expect?
Are these the over-ear headphones?
No, the predicted over ear AirPods are inching closer, too, but it looks like they will be announced in the summer, perhaps as soon as WWDC in June. Read about those headphones here.
AirPods Pro Lite?
Back in February, Digitimes predicted that Apple was working on a new iPad Pro, Apple Watch, Mac devices and… AirPods Pro Lite but gave no more details.
The name hadn’t been heard before, and was a little puzzling.
What did Lite mean in this context? Wasn’t it quite soon for new AirPods to be revealed? Would the new headphones actually be called AirPods Pro Lite? Would they replace regular AirPods?
Here’s what I think is going on.
The demand for AirPods Pro has been exceptional from the day they were announced. While the noise-canceling capabilities were rightly acclaimed as the standout feature, the new design with shorter ear stalks, and the better fit were also widely praised.
The fit was improved by a more bulbous shape that slotted into your ear more securely – not that the original AirPods ever fell out of my ears.
The three pairs of ear tips in different sizes helped with the fit as well and, more importantly, created a seal to keep the noise of the world at bay. So snugly do they fit that Apple introduced a Transparency Mode so you can hear without taking them out of your ears, using an external microphone to raise the volume of the noise around you.
Although there are no more details forthcoming yet, my guess is that the new AirPods will have the same design as the current Pro model, with that customizable fit but without noise-canceling.
This will enable Apple to make them available at a lower price, perhaps something around $199, which is the current price for the (non-Pro) AirPods with Wireless Charging Case. In turn, these could drop in cost to somewhere near the $159 price of the entry-level AirPods with Charging Case. And it’s just possible the bottom-rung AirPods will be retired.
None of this is certain. Apple may prefer to keep the new design just for the Pro version, for instance.
Since there’s no special event lined up, if the new AirPods are to arrive in May as Prosser predicts, they could be announced any time.
I’ll report back as more details emerge.