The AirPods X is only a rumor for now, but it’s a significant one. This alleged pair of in-ear headphones could take Apple’s immensely popular AirPods series somewhere it’s never been before: dedicated sports headphones.
The AirPods Pro already offers sweatproofing, but this pair of premium earbuds is far from purpose-built for fitness. The AirPods X could be much better suited to running and heavy workouts, and might even be able to deliver some of the AirPods Pro’s more advanced features at an accessible price.
- The best wireless earbuds you can buy right now
- Our picks of the best running headphones
- Plus: AirPods 3 just leaked — and it steals the AirPods Pro's best feature
The name AirPods X first circulated as a part of leaked data from Target, when it was referred to as Apple AirPods (X Generation). Soon thereafter, though, we learned AirPods X is the name assigned to a sports-friendly pair of earbuds, rather than a $399 set of over-ear headphones as initially thought.
AirPods X is also just one of three rumored pairs of upcoming headphones from Apple, the others being the AirPods Pro 2 and the AirPods 3. Whispers that at least one of these would launch in 2020 ultimately came to nothing, but it’s extremely likely that Apple is working on its next generation of wireless earbuds following the sales success of the AirPods Max.
AirPods X price
A major AirPods X leak from tech analyst Jon Prosser points at a price that's close to $200. This is an interesting price, because that would make them cheaper than the $249 AirPods Pro, close to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($199) and more expensive than the normal $159 AirPods.
AirPods X release date
Prosser once pegged the AirPods X as "Aimed for Sept/Oct" in 2020 — pointing to Apple plans to reveal the headphones alongside the iPhone 12. This, clearly, didn't happen, and there's currently no reliable word of a launch date for the AirPods X or any other rumored AirPods.
It's worth remembering, at least, that the AirPods X might not need a major event. Apple has shown that by announcing the iPad Pro 2020 and the MacBook Air 2020 via press releases that it doesn't always need an event to show off new hardware.
Prosser also tweeted about the unpredictability of Apple's next AirPods release, saying "There’s still an iMac and AirPods ready to ship. ... Theoretically, since they’re ready, they could drop at any time." However, these were likely the AirPods Max, which did release in 2020.
Heads up: There’s still an iMac and AirPods ready to ship. (Not sure which AirPods yet, only know codename)Theoretically, since they’re ready, they could drop at any time. I’ll let you know if/when I hear a date. Let’s see if Apple can keep it a secret from me 👀🤫May 6, 2020
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo acknowledged the AirPods X rumor according to MacRumors, and said that new AirPods slated for the second half of 2020 will be "more likely to be the new Beats model." Again, this probably turned out to be the AirPods Max.
AirPods X rumors
Prosser said "think Beats X" when referring to the AirPods X, which was surprising to hear. The Beats X aren't completely wireless headphones, which would make this reveal open up the definition of what the AirPods brand means. Beats X are a pair of earbuds tethered together with a wire that wraps around your neck, which then connect wirelessly to your device via Apple's W1 chip.
Prosser ended his tweet saying "End goal: phase out Beats," suggesting this is the end of that lineup. Soon thereafter, 9to5Mac reported that replacing Beats with Apple products "is not a strategy that Apple plans to pursue. The strategy is not one that should be viewed as being on the table for Apple."
AirPods X features
This move from a completely wireless design, and the lack of "Pro" in the name , signals that the AirPods X may be more like regular AirPods, and not feature the active noise cancelling or Transparency modes of the AirPods Pro.
But since these headphones were originally rumored to be called AirPods Pro Lite, according to Prosser, we're not sure if they'd lose all of the features — especially because Transparency mode would be incredibly helpful for folks who are working out.
- More: The best workout headphones, tested and ranked