With four different AirPods models in three lines, Apple could be readying a new AirPods Lite to compete with cheaper wireless earbuds. According to Haitong Itl Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu, Apple is working on this “lower priced product” to compete with non-Apple earbuds.
In the note from the analyst seen by 9to5Mac, Pu believes demand for AirPods is expected to drop from 73 million units in 2022 to 63 million in 2023. The analyst says “soft AirPods 3 demand” combined with Apple not releasing new wireless earbuds this year will make sales drop by 10 million units.
He’s unclear about the features these wireless earbuds will have. Since Apple already sells a $129 AirPods 2 model with the H1 chip, no ANC, Transparency mode, or wireless charging, this new product would need to cost at least $99 to be worth it for customers.
In addition, Apple already sells cheaper wireless earbuds with the Beats brand. There are Beats Studio Buds that don’t feature Apple’s special audio chip and the Beats Flex that uses Apple’s W1 chip from the first-gen AirPods model.
What’s next for the AirPods line?
With a recently-released AirPods Pro 2 version, we could expect Apple to be readying a new generation of AirPods models with the H2 chip and improved ANC and Transparency modes capabilities. While Pu suggests an AirPods Lite version is in the works, it would make sense if Apple would be readying a new AirPods Max model instead.
This premium headphone could have the features mentioned above in addition to new colors, Lossless support, a built-in U1 chip for precision finding, and Bluetooth 5.3 support.
Since Pu doesn’t give any specifications for this upcoming AirPods Lite model, it could have a similar look to AirPods 2, AirPods 3, or even an approach identical to Beats earbuds.
Let’s wait for new rumors and analysis to corroborate – or disbelief – this upcoming product.