“2024 is going to be a massive year for Apple’s smallest product” — iOS 18 to deliver AirPods hearing aid mode, three new hardware models in store

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

If your AirPods are looking old and out of date or you’ve just flushed yours down the toilet like my partner did, 2024 may be the year you get that replacement. 

As reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, “2024 is going to be a massive year for Apple’s smallest product”. In the Q&A for his latest newsletter, he says that there will be a “low-end and mid-tier” version of the AirPods launching this year to replace the second and third-generation AirPods respectively. 

We aren’t sure exactly what this means just yet but, given the AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 both have the Apple H1 chip from 2019, they could potentially get an upgrade here or might receive some new features. 

As of right now, if you compare the AirPods 2 to the AirPods 3, you will see the newer model has spatial audio, sweat and water resistance, and a better battery life. The AirPods 2, however, are cheaper to pick up. The same will likely happen with the new range of AirPods with the higher-end model having some extra features, at a higher price. 

What else is new?

Though Gurman doesn’t think we will get the next generation of AirPods Max this year, he does think there will be a light refresh to the line bringing a USB-C port, instead of the Lightning one currently available, and there may even be extra color options. Currently, you are able to buy the AirPods Max in Silver, Green, Blue, Pink, and Space Gray. 

The AirPods Pro 2, on the other hand, are not expected to receive any kind of physical change this year, though a big new software update will make them even better. In iOS 18, they are due to receive a brand new hearing aid mode, according to Gurman. It is unsure how this works but it could function similarly to the Conversation Boost mode, which amplifies talking so you can better hear it. If the name is anything to go on, this could be a great new accessibility feature taking advantage of the powerful hardware of the AirPods Pro 2. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.