Apple could be planning ‘AirPods Pro Lite’ for 2020

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Keep AirPods Pro noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
What does this mean for the AirPods lineup?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple could be planning to introduce more affordable AirPods Pro buds. A new report claims Cupertino is in talks with suppliers in Taiwan over “AirPods Pro Lite,” which are expected to debut later this year.

It is believed Apple is also planning to shift production of other devices — including iPad, Apple Watch, and iMac — to Taiwan as the coronavirus epidemic continues to cause problems in China.

Apple still sells second-generation AirPods as a more affordable alternative to AirPods Pro. They’ve been a huge success since they landed last March, and are now the world’s best-selling headphones.

It is perhaps not too surprising to hear Apple is working on new models for 2020, then. But could one of those models really be AirPods Pro Lite?

AirPods Pro Lite planned for 2020?

Here’s what Digitimes has to say about it:

Apple, maintaining partnerships with supply chains in both Taiwan and China, may have its Taiwanese partners handle more production of new-generation ‌iPad‌, ‌Apple Watch‌, AirPod Pro Lite and ‌iMac‌ devices to be released later.

This comes from a report that suggests Apple could rely more heavily on Taiwanese manufacturers for certain products as production facilities in China suffer supply shortages and shipment disruptions.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is wreaking havoc for a growing list of companies. Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, reopened this week but just 10% of its workforce showed up.

Tell us more!

Digitimes doesn’t offer any further details on the so-called AirPods Pro Lite, and this is the first time we’ve heard the name mentioned. So we can’t tell you any more about them at this point, unfortunately.

Apple could be planning buds that look like AirPods Pro, but with features like noise cancellation stripped away to become more affordable. But that seems highly unlikely.

Regular AirPods are already a terrific (and more affordable) alternative to AirPods Pro, and customers love them. Just “AirPods” is also a much better name than “AirPods Pro Lite.”

We feel there may be some confusion in this particular Digitimes report, then. So let’s take it with a pinch of salt for now.