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Here’s why Apple should bring back the original AirPods design

Published Mar 22nd, 2024 8:45AM EDT
Image: Apple Inc

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Earlier this week, a report suggested Apple is working on two AirPods 4 models, with a release date expected for September. These new models would replace the existing second and third generations, as Cupertino aims at low-cost and mid-tier wireless earbuds.

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, and corroborated by analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Jeff Pu in other reports, Apple is working on an updated AirPods 4 with a similar design to the third generation while working on mid-tier earbuds with non-removable ear tips, ANC support, and Find My-capable smart case.

AirPods Pro 2 USB-CImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

That said, these wireless earbuds would look similar to AirPods Pro 2. However, they would lack important features from Apple’s high-end earbuds, such as Adaptive Mode, Transparency Mode, and over-the-air Lossless support, among other changes.

Still, while some people will benefit from cheaper AirPods with ANC, I think Apple might again cannibalize its earbuds offerings without addressing the real deal: People love the original AirPods design.

Original AirPods might not sound the best, but they offer the best approach for Apple’s entry-level earbuds

I remember back in the day when Apple announced the original AirPods, people mocked their design, but to this day, they are the best wireless earbuds for calls, meetings, and outdoor runners. Unfortunately, despite the poor battery life after years of usage, what made me upgrade was the lack of new features, such as no Lock Mode if you lose them, the difficulty of using the Find My feature, and the lack of Spatial Audio.

Apple AirPods Gen 3 ComfortImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

While I do love my faulty AirPods 3, I think more people had a better experience with the original AirPods. With that in mind, it would be the best scenario if the company reused that design but introduced some of the newest features, such as:

  • Smart case with U1 chip for Find My capabilities
  • Spatial Audio support
  • Better speakers

With that, all the other features, including ANC, Transparency, Adaptive Mode, and so on, could still be exclusive to AirPods Pro, and users wouldn’t be confused about which earbuds to choose from.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, I think Apple is upgrading AirPods 4 with Pro-like features because this high-end lineup will focus on health features from now on. But while the third generation is nothing but a dream at this point, I think Cupertino will only hurt its sales by offering similar devices with hard-to-tell differences.

Below, you can learn more about when to expect new wireless earbuds and headphones from Apple.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.