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Two new AirPods models expected this fall - here's everything we know so far

According to reports, both models will sport new design, improved fit, and USB-C charging. One also will add noise cancellation.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Apple is preparing for its largest AirPods launch ever, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Gurman says the tech company is preparing to manufacture at least 20 million new AirPods units and is anticipating releasing them this fall.

The new AirPods will replace the second- and third-generation base model AirPods. One pair has a codename ending in E for "entry," and the other's codename ends in M for "mid-tier," so we can infer that one model will have more upgraded features than the other. Both AirPods will debut a new design, improved fit, and compatibility with USB-C charging. 

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Gurman says the upgraded model will have active noise-canceling technology and Find My speakers in the case, similar to the AirPods Pro (2nd gen)

Apple previously reserved noise-canceling tech for its premium earbuds, but the ANC earbud market has become significantly more competitive. There are high-quality noise-canceling earbuds that cost less than AirPods Pro, such as the OnePlus Buds 3 and the JLab JBuds ANC 3.

Base model AirPods are made from hard plastic and resemble Apple's original EarPods. Due to their hard plastic build, some people say the base model AirPods are uncomfortable to wear for long periods.

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However, with a redesign for improved fit, the new AirPods could sport foam or silicone ear tips like the upgraded Pro version. A new version of AirPods Pro is slated to come out next year, and it's unclear how Apple plans to continue distinguishing itself in the premium earbuds space.

Still, with new AirPods coming this fall, Apple also has plans to include upgraded software for compatible AirPods within iOS 18. Apple is reportedly working on giving AirPods Pro a hearing aid mode, but there aren't many details publicly available.

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