AirPods have never been among the cheapest wireless earbuds available, but Apple might have a cheaper model up its sleeve. According to analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Intl Tech Research (via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)), Apple is working on a pair of 'AirPods Lite' to take on more affordable models priced under £100 / $100 like the Sony WF-C500, Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus and Earfun Air.
As well as the premium AirPods Max over-ear model, Apple currently sells the older second-generation AirPods, alongside the 2022-launched third-gen AirPods and the newest second-gen AirPods Pro. The second-gen AirPods cost around £129 / $99 (around AU$230), which any cheaper model would probably undercut.
Apple doesn't traditionally launch budget products, preferring to discount its older models instead. The firm is reportedly mulling a move into budget earbud territory due to falling demand for AirPods – shipments are expected to drop from 73 million units in 2022 to 63 million in 2023, according to Pu.
The analyst doesn't share any more details of what these AirPods Lite might entail, but we can guess they would have a shorter battery life than other AirPods. Other features like noise-cancelling, spatial audio and wireless charging could also be off the cards.
Read our review of the Sony WF-1000XM4