Apple AirPods 4: Everything we know so far

It’s been two years since Apple last updated its entry-level earbud line with the AirPods 3 which means we could very well be due an update in 2024.

Scroll down to learn everything we know about the AirPods 4 so far, including when they’re expected to launch, how much they might cost and all the latest rumours regarding Apple’s true wireless earbuds. 

Release date 

To get an idea of when the AirPods 4 will arrive, it’s helpful to look at the AirPods launch timeline. 

The first-gen AirPods launched in 2016, with the AirPods 2 arriving three years later in 2019. After two years, Apple followed up the series with the AirPods 3 in 2021. Likewise, the AirPods Pro 2 arrived in 2022, three years after the original AirPods Pro. 

This goes to show that there are typically two-to-three years between each AirPods model and, with 2021 more than two years ago now, we might just be due for another update in 2024. 

One tweet by leading analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that shipments will begin in the second half of 2024 or the first half of 2025. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has also stated that he expects Apple to launch a new pair of entry-level AirPods in 2024, making the possibility of a new pair of AirPods sound more and more likely. 


The AirPods 3 cost $179/£169/€199 at launch so we would expect the AirPods 4 to be priced somewhere in this range. 

It’s unlikely that they’ll cost any more than the AirPods Pro line as they don’t carry the “Pro” moniker or their advanced features, such as ANC. The current-gen AirPods Pro 2 have an RRP of $249/£249/€199 so we expect the price of Apple’s entry-level earbuds to be lower than this. 

Apple is also rumoured to be releasing a second, cheaper pair of AirPods 4 called the AirPods Lite. According to analyst Jeff Pu (in a note seen by 9to5Mac), the AirPods Lite will cost less than the current $129 price of the 2019 AirPods 2. 

Apple AirPods 3 Force Sensor
The AirPods 3


According to Gurman (via SoundGuys), the AirPods 4 will feature an updated design that combines the aesthetics of the AirPods 3 and those of the AirPods Pro 2. 

This would give the AirPods 4 shorter stems, an improved fit and an updated charging case, though Gurman doesn’t expect the AirPods 4 to get replaceable ear tips this time around. 


If Apple does launch two models, the regular AirPods 4 could receive more advanced features traditionally reserved for the AirPods Pro, such as noise cancellation and Find My alerts for the charging case as well as the earbuds themselves. This would help distinguish them from the lower-priced AirPods Lite. 

Apple will also likely switch out the Lightning charging port on the AirPods 3 for a USB-C port on the AirPods 4 and AirPods Lite given the company has finally begun the transition on the iPhone 15. 

Sound quality 

It’s difficult to say whether the sound quality will improve on the AirPods 4, but it could be that sacrifices are made on the AirPods Lite to justify the earbuds’ lower cost. 

There’s a chance the AirPods 4 will see an upgrade from Apple’s H1 chip to the H2 currently reserved for the Pro line. The new chip could offer a range of upgrades, including improved efficiency, Bluetooth 5.3 support and – potentially – improved audio quality.