Report: Apple is Working on Cheaper ‘AirPods Lite’ Earbuds

Apple AirPods 3

Apple is reportedly working on cheaper “AirPods Lite” earbuds that could help the company to better compete with other wireless earbuds manufacturers. Jeff Pu, a tech analyst at Haitong International Securities made the prediction in a note seen by 9to5Mac.

Citing industry sources, the analyst claims that AirPods shipments should drop from 73 million units in 2022 to 63 million this year, partly due to “soft AirPods 3 demand.” Apple launched its $169 AirPods 3 back in 2021, but the company is still selling the older AirPods 2 at $129 as well. Presumably, the “lower priced product” Pu described as the “AirPods Lite” should be even cheaper.

Apple introduced the second-gen AirPods Pro last fall, which brought improved spatial audio and active noise cancellation. However, there was no update to the non-Pro AirPods line. and the AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 still remain quite expensive compared to, for example, the $99 Pixel Buds A-Series.

For iPhone owners, AirPods are a pretty nice companion accessory to have. Apple made the setup and connection process really seamless thanks to its proprietary “H Series” chips, and features like spatial audio are also nice to have. However, most iPhone users may still struggle to justify this purchase, especially when other wireless earbuds don’t go beyond the $100 psychological bar.

Last fall, Apple made its 2022 Apple TV 4K slightly more competitive by making the Wi-Fi-only model available for $129. The company would be well inspired to do the same with its AirPods line, even if this requires dropping some features that the older AirPods 2 or AirPods 3 have.

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