AirPods 4 to Get New Design, Updated Case, and Active Noise Cancellation

Apple in 2024 will introduce a fourth-generation version of the AirPods with a number of new features to make the earbuds more appealing to consumers, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reiterated today in his weekly Power On newsletter.

AirPods Fourth Generation Feature Purple Triad
There will be two versions of the AirPods 4 that are available at two different price points, with Apple aiming to replace both the AirPods 3 and the lower-priced AirPods 2 that it continues to sell. As of now, there is little difference between the AirPods 2 and ‌AirPods 3‌ beyond the design, which Gurman says is confusing to customers and costs Apple money when consumers opt for the cheaper model.

‌AirPods 4‌ will streamline the available AirPods options. The earbuds will feature an updated design, which Gurman outlined in October. The new AirPods are expected to look like a cross between the current AirPods and the AirPods Pro, with shorter stems. Fit is expected to be improved, but it is as of yet unclear if Apple will add silicone ear tips.

A redesigned case will include speakers for Find My alerts, and a USB-C charging port rather than a Lightning port. The higher-end version of the AirPods will feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which has to date been limited to the ‌AirPods Pro‌. It will allow customers to get ANC at a more affordable price point.

In a software update coming later next year, Apple will add hearing aid functionality, allowing AirPods to serve as an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing alternative to traditional hearing aids. The FDA in 2022 approved OTC hearing aid options, paving the way for Apple to market the AirPods for hearing loss. Gurman has said that Apple also plans to offer hearing tests that would tell AirPods users if they are experiencing hearing loss.

The ‌AirPods 4‌ will launch in 2024, perhaps around September when Apple unveils new iPhone models. Apple is also planning for a new version of the AirPods Max in 2024, but the update will be limited to new colors and the addition of a USB-C charging port.

Apple's more expensive ‌AirPods Pro‌ will be refreshed in 2025, with Apple set to introduce an updated design "focused on comfort" and a faster chip.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

jonnyb098 Avatar
8 months ago
The Gen 2 are still most comfortable for my ears. Gen 3 hurt just like the pros because of the giant bulbous design. Just give us a gen 2 like fit with new tech…
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
8 months ago
I hear the music playback starts slowing down when it's time to push new AirPod sales. ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
8 months ago
I’ve been waiting for this fourth gen regular AirPods, as someone who doesn’t like to feel the rubber tips pressing inside my ear canal, for this reasons:

- I expect them to finally be updated to Bluetooth 5.3 like the current Apple devices, enabling a better connection, a seamless and faster transition from one device to another, and an improvement in battery/range/sound quality.

- I was expecting them to have a motion sensor, to improve the collection of my fitness data, in order to measure my movements in a more accurate way.

I’m going to sell my gen 2 AirPods in order to purchase the fourth gen as soon as they are available. Nice to read about the Noise Cancelling feature, as long as it doesn’t require a rubber tip inside my ear canal! But it is not a feature I would upgrade for, as I already have a noise cancelling Beats Solo Pro.

PS: if Apple adds the silicone tips, and aren’t optional but a requirement for wearing them, I’ll get a pair of AirPods 3. No problem.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
krspkbl Avatar
8 months ago
i'll wait for next airpod pros.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dz5b609 Avatar
8 months ago
I sincerely hope it stays the current earbud design, that's the entire reason I have them (along a set of airpods pro). I really don't see how making them in-ears makes any sense in the lineup with the pros.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarAnalogy Avatar
8 months ago

The Gen 2 are still most comfortable for my ears. Gen 3 hurt just like the pros because of the giant bulbous design. Just give us a gen 2 like fit with new tech…
I don’t think it’s possible to do ANC with that design since your ear holes aren’t blocked.

I agree though that they should continue to sell one modeled like the AirPods 2 because some people simply prefer that.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)