Apple surprised us all this month with a last-minute press release announcing the brand new (and very expensive) AirPods Max. These look extremely different to the company's iconic in-ear buds, but it seems the hugely popular originals are next in line for an update. However, if new leaks are to be believed, it isn't all good news for AirPods fans.
According to one Korean tech site, the next iteration of Apple's base-level AirPods will arrive in the first half of next year, featuring an updated design. And unfortunately it seems they'll also be taking a cue from their larger over-ear siblings by sporting a surprisingly high price tag. If you fancy some AirPods that won't burn a hole in your pocket, these AirPods pre-Christmas deals are the best we've seen.
According to The Elec (opens in new tab), the next AirPods will adopt an "Pro Lite" approach (now there's an oxymoron), by borrowing the same design as the current AirPods Pro, but ditching some of their more advanced features. Facing the chop is the Pro's headline feature – active noise cancellation.
It seems like good news to us that the new AirPods will borrow the design of the Pros. The rubber-tipped buds are both more comfortable and less likely to fall out, while the reduced 'stem' is a more subtle and stylish take on the original. (That said, rumours suggest the next iteration of the AirPods Pro could do away with the stem entirely.)
And now for the bad news. The report suggests the new AirPods will be just 20 per cent cheaper than the current AirPods Pro, which cost $249/£249. This would make the AirPods Pro Lite (we're never getting on board with that name) $199/£199 – which is a pretty huge increase on the basic AirPods' price of $159/£159. It's not quite Mac Pro Wheels levels of silly, but these are sounding like a pretty pricey pair of earbuds.
Still, even the basic AirPods are among our best wireless headphones (opens in new tab), so at least you know you're shelling out for Apple quality. Time will tell what's in store next year, but in the meantime, the current AirPods are definitely a sound investment – check out today's best deals below.