Cheaper 'AirPods Lite' tipped to launch this year alongside AirPods Max 2

AirPods Pro 2 in charging case
(Image credit: Future)

We’ve already heard that Apple may release two more sets of AirPods later this year. But a new rumor suggests they might not be quite what we were expecting. In fact, analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors) claims we may see a pair of low-cost AirPods launching alongside the AirPods Max 2 later this year.

The previous rumor from Bloomberg claimed that we’d likely see both low-cost and mid-range AirPods launching later this year. We assumed that would come in the form of AirPods Lite and the AirPods 4. However Pu’s claim suggests this may not be the case after all.

In a new research note from Haitong International Securities, Pu claims that Foxconn will be supplying the cheaper AirPods. Assembly will apparently “ramp up” in the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile Pu claims that the AirPods Max 2 will be released before the end of the year. Whether that means the AirPods Lite will also be released in Q4 2024 isn’t clear. 

But given the popularity of AirPods it makes sense Apple would want to ensure its newest models are released before the holidays. In fact it’s probably more sensible to get the announcement done before Black Friday 2024, since that tends to be a period with some of the best discounts on AirPods models.

Obviously there’s a little discrepancy between these two rumors. Mark Gurman at Bloomberg claimed that the two pairs of AirPods earbuds will be arriving with a bunch more features including an enhanced design, USB-C, charging and improved sound. The mid-range AirPods 4 were also said to come with active noise cancellation and a speaker for Find My device tracking.

AirPods Max in blue

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Meanwhile Gurman has previously claimed that the next AirPods Max would have minimal changes. We’re talking about the addition of USB-C charging and maybe some new colors, rather than any major internal upgrades. Which is not a release deserving of much fanfare, to be honest. 

So here’s hoping that Apple may do what it did with the USB-C AirPods Pro 2, and simply release USB-C AirPods Max as a replacement for the models with a Lightning port. Meanwhile the AirPods Lite and AirPods 4, if they are indeed coming, can be released together with a little more ceremony.

Gurman claimed these two sets of earbuds will be released in September or October, which suggests we may see them launch alongside iPhone 16. But, in any case, we’ll have to be patient and wait to see what Apple is actually planning. 

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.