Apple AirPods 4: release date predictions, price, features, and news

In 2016, Apple introduced its first-generation wireless earbuds - the AirPods. Much like many of its other products, Apple has turned the AirPods into a stylish symbol beloved by music enthusiasts.

If you're a dedicated AirPods fan eagerly awaiting the latest scoop on the highly anticipated AirPods 4, you are in the right place. We'll dive into the speculations, swirling rumors, and what to expect from Apple's next-generation AirPods. Let's jump right in!

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AirPods 4 release date expectations

Until recently, there haven't been any solid rumors about when the fourth-gen AirPods will drop. However, according to a recent report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the new AirPods should debut in September or October this year, as their production is said to start in May.

Apple launched AirPods versions in 2016, 2019, and 2021, signaling that it's about time for the Cupertino tech giant to unveil the next generation. However, it might be prudent to hold off on speculating and instead wait for Apple's official plans to unfold.

AirPods 4 price expectations

Rumors circulating in the tech world suggest that the fourth-generation AirPods may adopt a pricing strategy akin to the current AirPods 2 and AirPods 3. Get ready for a dual-tiered pricing structure, offering a budget-friendly option alongside a higher-priced variant.

Given that the current AirPods 3 are priced at $179, and AirPods 2 are priced at $129, it's reasonable to expect that the next generation, AirPods 4, will likely be priced under $200. Considering the trend of increasing prices, AirPods 4 might cost slightly more than AirPods 3 did at its launch in 2021.

AirPods 4 design

In terms of design, we're not expecting major changes from the AirPods 3. Historically, Apple has often maintained the same design from one generation to the next, as seen with the first-generation AirPods remaining unchanged in the second generation.

With this perspective, the AirPods 3 did receive design improvements, making it probable that the fourth generation will continue with the same design. However, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg has hinted at the possibility of the next-generation AirPods coming in different colors

According to other reports, two upcoming fourth-generation AirPods earbuds are set to showcase a fresh design, resembling a fusion of the AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro 2. This includes shorter stems, and noteworthy is the inclusion of noise cancellation in one of the 4th-generation AirPods.

Of course, we'll have to sit tight and wait for Apple to share its plans.

AirPods 4 hardware and specs expectations

Many of the enhancements seen in the third-generation AirPods drew inspiration from the features of the first-generation AirPods Pro. Therefore, it's highly probable that the forthcoming upgrades for the fourth-generation AirPods will be influenced by the advancements introduced in the second-generation AirPods Pro.

The next-gen AirPods are likely to borrow a key feature from the second-gen ‌AirPods Pro‌: the H2 chip. Right now, both the second and third-gen AirPods rock the H1 chip. 

The H2 chip, if Apple uses it, could help improve Personalized Spatial Audio, make pairing faster, and help make device swapping easier. And as mentioned earlier, it is rumored that the next-generation AirPods will have noise cancellation.

Should the AirPods 4 adopt the H2 chip, it might also feature Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity. Numerous Apple devices now come equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, making it a reasonable assumption that the fourth-generation AirPods will also incorporate this technology. Bluetooth 5.3 offers a faster and more reliable connection between your AirPods and iPhone or iPad.

Bloomberg's Marc Gurman suggests that Apple is developing significant hearing health and body-temperature advancements for AirPods, including a hearing test feature with various tones and sensors to measure body temperature through the ear canal, seen as more precise than wrist measurements on Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra models.

He also hints that the AirPods 4 will introduce a button press feature for muting and unmuting during calls, as well as enhancements for seamless switching between AirPods pairings.

AirPods 4 battery and charging expectations

As evident from the latest iPhone 15 series and the updated AirPods Pro 2, Apple is transitioning from the Lightning port to USB-C. According to Bloomberg's Marc Gurman, all AirPods models and Apple accessories are set to shift from Lightning to USB-C by the end of 2024. Consequently, the AirPods 4 will most definitely feature a USB-C port.

While the third-generation AirPods can be charged using MagSafe, a Qi wireless charger, or a Lightning cable, the latter will not be an option for the AirPods 4. The latest AirPods Pro also supports charging with an Apple Watch charger, suggesting that the AirPods 4 will likely offer this charging method as well.

Apple appears to be broadening its charging technology beyond just the Pro models. So, it's highly probable that this extra charging method will be included in the fourth-gen AirPods, giving users more flexibility.

If the AirPods 4 adopts the H2 chip with Bluetooth 5.3 it might have longer battery life. According to Mac Rumors, the H2 chip in the latest AirPods Pro adds an extra hour and a half of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation (which the AirPods 4 is not expected to support) turned on, compared to the prior model. 

If this were applied to the regular AirPods, it might mean a bump from five hours to approximately six and a half hours of battery life.

Is it worth waiting for the AirPods 4?

In summary, an exact launch date for the AirPods 4 has yet to be confirmed. While the fall of 2024 is a likely estimate, it remains quite distant. The AirPods 4 could potentially offer improved sound quality and better battery performance due to the H2 chip, making it worthwhile to consider waiting. 

And if you currently possess the previous generation and have no urgent need for an upgrade it might be worth it. Also, if the AirPods 4 has similar or the same features as the AirPods Pro 2, it might be worth the wait, as the USB-C AirPods Pro 2 might be the best new Apple product.

Additionally, if you have your sights set on the newest iPhone 15, it would be prudent to give the next-generation AirPods 4 a closer look, particularly since they could be charged using the same cable. Reducing cable clutter in your household is always a welcome advantage, isn't it?

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