Apple currently sells four different models of AirPods, ranging from the second-generation AirPods to the advanced AirPods Max. And while AirPods have become quite popular earphones, they’re not exactly cheap. But according to analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Intl Tech Research, the company is now working on new “AirPods Lite” to compete with cheaper wireless earbuds.
Despite being quite successful accessories, Jeff Pu claims, based on his industry sources, that demand for AirPods is expected to drop by 2023. More specifically, shipments of AirPods are expected to drop from 73 million units in 2022 to 63 million in 2023. Part of this would be due to “soft AirPods 3 demand” and the fact that Apple may not release new AirPods this year.
New AirPods Lite on the way
The company has been working on “AirPods Lite.” At this point, it’s unclear what exactly this product is and what features it will have, but Pu describes it as a “lower priced product” to compete with non-Apple earbuds.
With the launch of AirPods 3 in 2021, Apple has kept the previous generation AirPods 2 available in stores at a lower price of $129, while AirPods 3 cost $169. Presumably, these “AirPods Lite” will cost less than $129. Another option for Apple would be to simply reduce the price of the second-generation AirPods even further, perhaps to $99.
In 2022, Apple introduced the second-generation AirPods Pro with significant enhancements, including better noise cancellation and a new charging case with the U1 chip for Precision Finding. However, there are no rumors about when Apple plans to update the regular AirPods (currently in the third generation) or even the premium AirPods Max headphones.