Poll: Should Apple make a lower-end version of in-ear AirPods?

A few intriguing reports over the past several weeks have suggested that Apple is developing an entry-level version of AirPods Pro for release sometime this year. On the surface, it’s hard to imagine what “entry-level” means in reference to the AirPods lineup, but there’s one clear possibility.

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Apple’s AirPods lineup currently consists of three different options:

  • AirPods with Charging Case — $159
  • AirPods with Wireless Charging Case — $199
  • AirPods Pro — $249

Of course, retailers such as Amazon regularly discount the AirPods lineup, but this is how Apple prices and markets everything.

So as it stands now, there’s not much room between the AirPods variant with a Qi charging case and AirPods Pro, but it’s easy to imagine how Apple might rearrange the lineup to make room for “AirPods Pro Lite.”

The key difference, and why Digitimes is seemingly referring to these AirPods as “AirPods Pro,” is the in-ear design. As it stands now, if the non-Pro AirPods don’t fit in your ears — which is a common complaint despite Apple’s “universal fit” marketing — then your only option is to shell out $249 for AirPods Pro.

But if the Digitimes reporting is to be believed, Apple is apparently developing a lower-end version of AirPods with the in-ear design.

For Apple to make room for this new variant in its lineup, one possibility is the end of the entry-level AirPods with Charging Case. In this situation, the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case could move downwards in price, and “AirPods Pro Lite” could come in at the $199 price point.

Here is one possibility what Apple’s AirPods lineup could look like:

  • AirPods with Wireless Charging Case — $159
  • AirPods Pro Lite — $199
  • AirPods Pro — $249

So what would separate AirPods Pro Lite from AirPods Pro? The most logical solution is Active Noise Cancellation. In this situation AirPods Pro Lite would lack Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode — they’d essentially be normal AirPods, but with an in-ear design.

Of course, you should treat Digitimes reporting with some skepticism. As of right now, no other sources are corroborating the “AirPods Pro Lite” rumors, but Digitimes continues to double down on its claims. That includes a new report this week, in which the supply chain outlet claims AirPods Pro Lite will enter production in Q2.

What do you think? Should Apple readjust its lineup of AirPods with a more affordable in-ear option? Let us know in the poll below and down in the comments!

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

Tips, questions, typos to chance@9to5mac.com