Report: Apple Prepping AirPods 3 for Spring

A Lite version of the popular AirPods Pro could show up this month

Why This Matters:

A report that conjectures possible new AirPod iterations is not remotely surprising but, if true, could be good news for those who want the Pro design, but want to pay a Lite price.

AirPods Pro
Apple's new AirPods Pros have a lot more technology, silicon tips, and ANC, so it's no surprise they're a little biger and heavier than the last models.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Apple may be prepping a "Lite" version of its popular AirPods Pro, according to a new report in Toms Guide, and they might arrive before the end of this month.

What's different: According to the report, first spotted in Digitimes (a common source for many Apple rumors), the new Bluetooth buds may look just like the AirPods Pros, but leave out the active noise cancellation. Fewer features could mean a sub-$200 price.

There's more: In addition to the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro Lite, Apple might also be working on its first set of over-the-ear headphones, which some are calling AirPods X. According to 9to5Mac, a leaked Target ad features Apple's Beats One-like headphones and a number of other product updates.

By the Numbers

Apple sold 60 million AirPods in 2019 (report)
AirPods Pro sales might reach 90 million in 2020 (analysts)

Apple's dilemma: Apple typically holds some kind of spring product update, often at its Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California. However, the Coronavirus outbreak has likely upended any big in-person events. If Apple has something new up its sleeve, it may opt for small, in-person product briefings in California and on the east coast.

Bottom Line: Apple all but created a new wireless earbud market when they launched AirPods in 2016. The equally popular AirPods Pro proved it wasn't a fluke. Apple likes to keep its product pipeline full by releasing new hardware a few times each year. AirPods, one of its most popular products, will surely see some kind of update this year, as will—yes, we're guessing here—iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watch, and, in the fall, the iPhone 12. How the Coronavirus impacts the launch schedule and how Apple delivers this information is anyone's guess.

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