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Home / Features / Apple AirPods 4 preview: specs, release date, and everything we know

Apple AirPods 4 preview: specs, release date, and everything we know

Everything you need to know about Apple's upcoming earbuds


Apple’s AirPods are some of the most popular true wireless earbuds kicking about. So, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that the AirPods 4 earbuds are (probably) on their way. We say probably, because there’s been no official statement or announcement from Apple. Yet. But it’s hardly a crazy prediction — especially as numerous rumours have all pointed to an imminent AirPods 4 launch in the relatively near future.

So with that in mind, grab your bag of salt, and let’s go through everything we know about the Apple AirPods 4 so far.

AirPods Pro 4 models, price, and release date

According to reporter Mark Gurman (who has had an accurate track record when it comes to information on pre-released and rumoured Apple Products), Apple will release two versions of the AirPods 4 in 2024 — a regular model, and a more expensive version with more premium features. According to analyst Jeff Pu, the lower-end option will be called the AirPods Lite. A new AirPods Pro model (dubbed the AirPods Pro 3) is set to land in 2025.

As for a release date — no one is sure. According to another seasoned analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, the AirPods 4 won’t be shipping until the second half of 2024. More recently, Gurman followed up with a report that the buds are gearing up for production in May for the “biggest release to date“. This would suggest they’ll be ready in time for September to debut alongside the upcoming iPhone 16. While the most likely course of action, it, of course, remains unconfirmed. Analyst Jeff Pu also believes we could see the AirPods Max alongside new AirPods in Q4 2024 (anywhere between 1 October and 31 December).

No one can be more specific than this rough estimate at this time, and we can’t even make any predictions based off of past release dates, as they’re also sporadic. The original AirPods, AirPods 2, and AirPods 3 all launched in December, March, and October in their respective years, which doesn’t give us much of a pattern to go on.

As for price, we have slightly better estimates. First of all, let’s take a look at the launch price history of the current AirPods range:

  • Apple AirPods: $159/ £150
  • Apple AirPods 2nd Gen (with/without wireless charging case): $159/£159 / $199/£199
  • Apple AirPods 3rd Gen (with/without wireless charging case): $179/£169 / $169/£179

Based on the above prices, you’d be forgiven for estimating a launch price around the $169/£179 mark, and Gurman would agree with you. This, however, contrasts Ming-Chi Kuo’s belief that the launch price will be more around the $99 range. That would make them the most affordable AirPods to date. We’d like to think that the regular AirPods 4/Lite model is at the lower end, while the more premium model has a launch price similar to the previous generation.

AirPods Pro 4 design

Gurman believes that the AirPods 4 will land with an updated design that’s a mixture of the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2. Both the cheaper and more expensive versions of the AirPods 4 are expected to have shorter stems. At first, neither model was expected to have removable ear tips like the AirPods Pro 2. But it appears the more expensive model will arrive with active noise cancellation, which would need the tips. For the Lite model, expect all-white earbuds with an unsealed fit, with a case that’s similar to what we’ve seen so far.

With both models, Gurman reported that the design is supposed to offer a better fit than the current offerings. So we suspect that tips aren’t the only trick up Apple’s sleeve. We also expect both models to keep the same IPX4 water-resistant rating, which will be good news for gym-goers.

AirPods Pro 4 features

Both versions of the AirPods 4 are expected to have force-sensor controls for adjusting playback and accepting/rejecting calls. Naturally, we expect cases for both the AirPods 4 and AirPods Lite to offer USB-C charging. It’s likely that the Lite model won’t support wireless charging, in an effort to keep costs down. Gurman has since reported that USB-C is on the way as well.

We could also see one or both models feature Apple’s new H2 chip. This could lead to better battery life, and even Personalized Volume, which automatically tweaks the volume level according to your preferences/environment. Active noise cancellation smarts are set to make an appearance in the more premium AirPods 4 model. But the Lite buds will be left out. You can also expect Find My functionality on the case for the premium AirPods 4, just like the current AirPods Pro 2.

That’s everything we know about the AirPods 4 so far. We’ll be sure to keep this article updated with more leaks and rumours as they happen, so stay tuned.

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Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.