AirPods 4 leak just revealed all the new features — and two models are on the way

The Apple AirPods 3 wireless earbuds resting atop the wireless charging case
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Continuing speculation on a forthcoming AirPods overhaul, Apple commentator Mark Gurman (a well-connected tech writer at Bloomberg) has reiterated that he expects to see two entry-level AirPods 4 versions in 2024. 

Although there's no official news from Apple on the so-called AirPods 4 wireless earbuds, in his latest Power On newsletter (via MacRumors) Gurman says that Apple will focus on its wearables business in 2024 with the Vision Pro and Apple Watch getting more attention. More interestingly for me though, is that the report repeats that the Cupertino tech giant also intends to replace both sets of entry-level AirPods in 2024.

Earlier this year Apple updated its flagship AirPods Pro 2 noise-canceling wireless earbuds with a USB-C port at its Wonderlust event, and rolled out its Adaptive Audio suite with iOS 17 for its Pro 2 series models too. Apple has also started selling a USB-C-equipped charging case for AirPods Pro 2 for $99, so it's safe to assume that any new AirPods introductions in 2024 will come with a USB-C charging port rather than Lightning.

Apple AirPods 4: What else to expect

The AirPods 4 will streamline Apple's entry-level models and replace the AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 models. There's no indication of what that price point will be right now, but Gurman has previously mentioned that the new versions will be “priced similarly”, but that the new versions will be “more differentiated” to avoid pricing structure confusion.

It's expected that the new entry-level version will be pretty similar to the AirPods 3. An enhanced version will blur the line between tiers by inheriting a few Pro-exclusive features such as Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) and a charging case with speakers for Find My alerts. This will bring ANC to a more affordable price point, and both new versions will apparently offer improved fit and feature a stem and look “like a blend of the third-generation AirPods and the Pro model.”

Apple typically makes any new AirPods changes/introductions at its September events, and it's likely that any new AirPods 4‌ versions will launch alongside new iPhone models later in 2024. 

Additionally, it's wildly rumored that Apple will also introduce a new version of its AirPods Max 2 flagship headphones in 2024. This update is likely to be limited to new color options and a USB-C charging port to replace the Lightning port.

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.