When AirPods Pro 2 launch, the originals might become the bargain of the year

AirPods Pro in their case, next to a wooden block
(Image credit: Future)

It's looking more and more likely that we'll see the AirPods Pro 2 appear at the next Apple Event, alongside the iPhone 14 and the Apple Watch Series 8.

We're expecting the launch price of the AirPods Pro 2 to match the launch price of the original Apple AirPods Pro, making them something like $249 / £239 / AU$399, and I suspect that the current AirPods Pro will be discontinued. It's possible that Apple would lower the price of the current model and keep them around, as it did with the AirPods 2nd Gen once it release the AirPods 3rd Gen

But I think that's unlikely – because of the AirPods 3rd Gen, funnily enough. They cost $179 / £169 / AU$279, which is way too close to the expected price of the AirPods Pro 2 to fit in a third product between them. They'd be so close in price that people would have trouble deciding which to go for, which is not the Apple way.

So the original AirPods Pro will make their way to the great 'drawer of old tech' in the sky… except there's one problem. There are tons of AirPods Pro units available to buy right now. From Apple and in other retailers. So what happens to them?

Well, we can probably guess the answer to this, because we've seen it year-in and year-out with Apple Watch models: the old model will get some great price drops.

Not from Apple, of course. No, the old model will just disappear right off the face of its website.

But you'll quickly start seeing price drops at third-party retailers who've got stock that they could never sell at full price, because you'd obviously buy the new, better model if they cost the same, right?

And that could make the older model one of the best AirPods deals of the year, because they're still headphones that rival the best true wireless earbuds.

What's the right price for the older AirPods Pro?

Of course, that price drop needs to be meaningful to make it worthwhile. The cheapest prices we've ever seen AirPods Pro drop to is $180 / £170, so that's a good starting point. If you see them for that cheap, we think they're actually still a good buy, even with a new wave of earbuds such as the Jabra Elite 5 bringing a ton of useful features for even cheaper.

It may take a week or two for the price to drop that low, and I don't think you'll see them for a lot cheaper than that – I'd be amazed if they drop any lower than $160 / £150, and I'm only half convinced they'll go even that cheap.

I think there's a good chance of them hitting $170 / £160, and that you shouldn't hesitate to buy a pair if you want them and you're happy with that price.

But this will all partly depend on the popularity – if they fly off the shelves at $180 / £170, the stores won't feel much of a need to competitively drop pricing further. So what you'll need to do is keep your eye on stock levels – if they haven't yet hit a price as low as you're hoping for, but they're selling out, then don't expect any deeper price drops. You'll need to decide whether to pull the trigger at the current price, and quick.

Remember, with current AirPods Pro, you're getting active noise cancelation that still holds up as being some of the best around, you're getting support for incredible Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio, you're getting good sound quality, and there's a range of extra useful features, such as auto-switching between your Apple devices, and Find My support.

The new version is expected to be better than the current one in lots of ways, but in terms of the core features vital to being a good set of modern headphones, the AirPods Pro might give you the best bang for buck of any earbuds this year, if the price is right.

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.