Is Apple working on a “Lite” version of its AirPods Pro with a lower price tag? One Taiwan-based supply chain outlet seems to think so.
DigiTimes on Monday shared a preview of an imminent story suggesting that Apple may tap Universal Scientific Industrial to supply system-in-packages for upcoming AirPods Pro. The use of the word upcoming suggests an imminent release, but AirPods Pro themselves are too new for a refresh.
So what’s going on? DigiTimes is likely referring to the so-called “AirPods Pro Lite.” The news publication first indicated that Apple was working on some type of “Lite” AirPods Pro model earlier this month.
It really was the first indication that Apple was developing a cheaper version of AirPods Pro. And, currently, DigiTimes is the only publication to have published any such rumors.
The earlier report suggested that the “AirPods Pro Lite” model would be an “entry-level version” of Apple’s wireless, noise-canceling earbuds. But it didn’t shed any additional light on price point, features or specifications.
That earlier rumor did indicate that Apple’s supply chain wouldn’t be able to mass-produce the entry-level AirPods Pro until the second quarter of 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China.
Going by that reported timeline, we can probably expect AirPods Pro to be announced within the first half of the year. That isn’t unprecedented since second-generation AirPods were released in March 2019.
It isn’t clear what shape “AirPods Pro Lite” will take, however. They could simply be normal AirPods with some type of noise-canceling feature or rubberized ear tips. Both of those are highly praised features, but Apple would risk cannibalizing sales of AirPods Pro with a cheaper model.
It’s also possible that the “AirPods Lite” could be bundled with future iPhones, as has been previously rumored. But, of course, we don’t expect Apple to give away advanced wireless earphones for free, so a trimmed-down AirPods experience would be likely.
The last possibility is that DigiTimes is just wrong about “AirPods Pro Lite.” The publication does have a very hit-or-miss reputation. And, in fact, the full report containing additional details about “AirPods Pro Lite” isn’t going to be published until tomorrow.