Kuo: New AirPods will look like AirPods Pro, arrive in first half of 2021

AirPods (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says new AirPods are coming in the first half of 2021.
  • They'll look like AirPods Pro, he says.
  • But don't expect the same features.

Rumors of an AirPods Lite release have been coming out of DigiTimes for months at this point and now analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has backed part of the story. Yes, the new AirPods will look similar to AirPods Pro but they will be marketed as standard AirPods. Just as we thought.

According to a new research note for TF International Securities and picked up by MacRumors, the AirPods will sport the same in-ear design that we've become accustomed to with AirPods Pro, but without the upgraded features such as active noise cancellation and such. That will allow an AirPods Pro-like appearance but without the beefy $249 asking price.

Apple is likely to try to stick to the popular $159 starting price for the new AirPods when they go on sale in the first half of 2020, although it isn't clear whether that will see Apple bring the Wireless Charging Case down to that price point. Buyers currently need to pay $199 if they want to avoid plugging a Lightning cable into their AirPods' standard Charging Case.

It's a safe bet we won't see any new AirPods during today's WWDC event, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of reason to follow along. This could be a big one, especially if rumors of a transition to ARM-based Macs are accurate.

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.