It’s coming up to year since Apple launched its latest generation of premium AirPods, the AirPods Pro 2, but don't expect a set of AirPods Pro 3 to arrive alongside the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch 9. It’s not looking very likely that new AirPods will be launched at its next event.
Given that the latest generation of AirPods Pro were launched on September 23 2022, you might assume that a new pair could be on their way along with a new iPhone, but that's not usually how Apple works. Usually, Apple doesn't release AirPods along with the iPhone, but rather later in the year.
Here’s a timeline of AirPods releases since 2020:
- Apple AirPods launched in September 2017
- Apple AirPods 2 launched in March 2019
- Apple AirPods Pro launched in October 2019
- Apple AirPods Max launched in December 2020
- Apple AirPods 3 launched in October 2021
- Apple AirPods Pro 2 launched in September 2022
However, you might notice that Apple has reliably released a new pair of AirPods every year now. Before the AirPods Pro 2, Apple unveiled an updated version of its standard AirPods and before those, it had released the AirPods Max.
Looking at the above, the next logical AirPod model that looks to be set for a refresh would be the AirPods Max, which we rate as the best over-ear headphones for Apple fans. But as excited as we would be for an AirPods Max 2, it doesn't look likely that these headphones will launch in 2023.
According to a prediction from Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst at TF International Securities, that was posted on Twitter earlier this year, a new model of the AirPods Max isn’t expected to start production till the second half of 2024 at the earliest, which means a launch date isn’t likely till 2025 at the earliest.
(1/2)I predict Apple's next important acoustic product refresh time is will be in 2H24-1H25. The following new products will likely start mass production in 2H24 at the earliest.1. HomePod mini 2.2. AirPods Max 2.3. AirPods low-cost version.February 3, 2023
Could that mean that a new standard or premium pair of AirPods are on the cards instead? We haven’t seen any rumors circulating about this yet but there has been talk about a new category of AirPods. We started hearing about an AirPods Lite earlier this year, which is set to be a cheaper option in its AirPods lineup.
But there haven't been any leaks or other indications that these are coming, and if there were likely to land alongside the iPhone and Apple Watch, they'd probably have leaked as much as those devices have. There's been no info, so if they're coming this year, it'll probably be in October or later – ready for Christmas.
AirPod announcements that we can expect
While there haven’t been a lot of rumors circulating about whether Apple plans to add a new model to their best AirPods, there has been talk about when we can next expect an announcement from the Calfornian company. Apple’s annual iPhone launch event tends to be in September and while an exact date hasn’t been confirmed, Bloomberg’s chief tech correspondent Mark Gurman believes it could be on September 12.
Signs are increasingly pointing to Sept. 12 as the iPhone 15 event date, but obviously things can still theoretically change. https://t.co/hVKgjJGMc1August 8, 2023
What we do know is that the AirPods Pro 2 are set to see six new features when iOS 17 is launched, as part of an announcement that was made during WWDC 2023. Essentially, you can expect the latest AirPods to be a lot more adaptive and aware when this update is rolled out.
On the hardware front, Apple started offering the third generation of AirPods at a discount on its refurbished site at the start of August, which is a first for the company. Whether this means we’ll see more refurbished AirPods on their way is still up in the air, but we could hear more at the upcoming Apple event.
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Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.