Rumors surrounding a new version of the AirPods Pro, the so-called AirPods Pro Lite, have been circling since mid-February, after a report from DigiTimes claimed that the new true wireless earbuds will launch in the first half of 2020.
The AirPods Pro Lite will reportedly be an entry-level version of the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro, which suggest the rumored wireless earbuds might be cheaper the most expensive Apple earbuds currently on the market.
Despite no official confirmation from Apple, and very hazy details on the earbuds, we’ve even been hearing reports on how the current coronavirus outbreak will stall production on the AirPods Pro Lite – and then later reports disparaging these claims.
Even though we know very little about the AirPods Pro Lite – or if they even really exist – that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming up a wishlist of all the specs and features we’d like to see from a new pair of AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds.
Cheaper than the AirPods Pro
If the rumored AirPods Pro Lite really are an entry-level version of the AirPods Pro, we’d expect them to be significantly cheaper than their pricy siblings. At $249 / £249 / AU$399, the original Pros are pretty expensive, even more so than the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2020, the Sony WF-1000XM3.
We’d like to see the AirPods Pro Lite at a similar price to the 2019 AirPods; at $159 / £159 / AU$249, they aren’t cheap, but they’re much more affordable. It would be even better if Apple could launch a pair of true wireless earbuds at the $100 / £100 / AU$150 mark, as that would really shake up the competition with a genuinely affordable pair of Apple earbuds.
Noise cancelation built-in
We don’t think there would be much point in releasing an entry-level version of AirPods Pro if they didn’t come with its best feature: active noise cancelation.
This was a true upgrade over the original AirPods, and signaled a shift in the true wireless earbuds market that means we can now expect to see features previously reserved for premium over-ear headphones in cordless models.
The noise cancelation offered by the AirPods Pro is very good indeed, particularly for true wireless earbuds. We’d also expect to see the Transparency feature continued in the AirPods Pro Lite, which allows sound to pass through the buds when you want to quickly tap into your surroundings.
A streamlined design
The AirPods Pro offered a much lighter and more streamlined build than the 2019 AirPods, and we’d like to see a development of that design in the rumored AirPods Pro Lite. As the Pros offered shorter stems than there predecessors, it would be interesting to see whether Apple could take this even further, perhaps getting rid of the stems entirely in favor of a Samsung Galaxy Buds-style look.
We don’t think that’s very likely, considering how iconic the AirPods design has become in recent years, and the fact that the AirPods Pro come with touch-sensitive controls built into the stems.
If Apple does keep the protruding stems we’d love the brand to include haptic feedback when you touch them – it would add a little bit of tactility to the user experience that we think would be really beneficial.
Speaking of the design, some earfins wouldn’t go amiss to appeal to the running crowd. While we find that the AirPods Pro are generally quite secure during workout sessions, some extra security could win over diehard fans of the earhook-toting Beats Powerbeats Pro.
Another way to steal some custom from Beats (and therefore itself)? Adding some cool color options to the AirPods Pro Lite. If they really are a cheaper version of the AirPods Pro, and therefore not a flagship product, what’s the harm in a little experimentation? We’d love to see true wireless earbuds in the same space gray and rose gold colors we’ve seen with some iPhone and MacBook Pro models.