$99 Airpods could debut alongside new AirPods Max, but not in 2023, according to top insider

AirPods 3 lying on table out of charging case
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

A new report adds further fuel to the fire that Apple intends to ship new and cheaper AirPods, possibly hitting a notable $99 price point. The same report also claims that Apple is finally ready to refresh its AirPods Max headphones.

No matter which product you're most interested in, you're going to have to wait a little while to pick it up — neither is expected to ship until the second half of 2024 at the earliest.

AirPods Lite for $99?

While we've already heard rumors of a $99 pair of "AirPods Lite" from analyst Jeff Pu, this latest report comes via a series of tweets by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. According to Kuo, a legendary Apple insider with year's of experience breaking accurate information about Apple's future plans, Apple is indeed targeting a price of $99 for its new AirPods.

Unfortunately, like Pu, Kuo hasn't been able to offer any real information on what those AirPods might offer or what features will be culled in order to hit that special sub-$100 price point. It's also possible that Apple won't need to cut features, of course, but we can hopefully expect to learn more in the coming months.

The current cheapest AirPods that Apple sells are the older AirPods 2, offered for $129 a pair.

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Alongside the cheaper AirPods, Kuo also believes that Apple is finally ready to launch some new AirPods Max — although he again was sadly lacking in concrete information.

No details on prices — AirPods Max currently sell for $549 — were offered, but we can expect the new headphones to ship around the same time as those new AirPods. Again, we should hopefully learn more in the coming weeks and months.

As for timings, Kuo expects Apple to sell budget earbuds and update its best headphones either in the second half of 2024 or the first half of 2025. We've all got plenty of time to save up, whichever end of that window these things drop.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.