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AirPods Lite could add key new feature: Affordability

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AirPods Lite could add key new feature: Affordability
Can't afford AirPods? AirPods Lite might be just what you're hoping for.
Graphic: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is working on AirPods Lite, a cheaper version of its wireless earbuds, according to an industry analyst.

This would appeal to those who find even the lowest-cost AirPods out of their reach. And would help buoy interest in Apple’s product when sales are expected to slow in 2023.

Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022

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Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve reviewed quite a few active noise-canceling wireless earbuds for Cult of Mac, including the magnificent new second-gen AirPods Pro. And while the high quality and excellent features of Apple’s updated ANC buds make them a favorite as well as a benchmark, there are great alternative earbuds that do a nice job for a much lower cost.

What follows isn’t a “top 5 in the world” list, which would be an assortment of mostly super-pricey earbuds. It’s my favorite earbuds among those I’ve reviewed in the past year or so, mostly focused on high-value products, considering the quality you get for the cost.

$20 or less: Apple stocking stuffers that won’t drain your wallet

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Cult of Mac Store stocking stuffers for Apple fans
Great gifts at terrific prices.
Image: Amy Shamblen/Unsplash Licence/Cult of Mac

Looking for some sweet holiday gifts that won’t break the bank? The Cult of Mac Store has a massive collection of affordable stocking stuffers, sure to put a smile on the face of any Apple fan, for less than $20 each.

You’ll find cases, screen protectors, bands, stands and more from our most popular vendors. And every product has been used and approved by us, so you can be confident you’re spending your hard-earned cash on great products.

Today in Apple history: AirPods arrive to conquer the audio world

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Today in Apple history: They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
Photo: Dagny Reese/Unsplash License

December 13: Today in Apple history: Original AirPods launch December 13, 2016: After months of anticipation and delay, Apple finally releases AirPods. The tiny wireless earbuds arrive in Apple’s online store just in time for holiday shoppers looking for stocking stuffers.

Like so many Apple products, they aren’t the first such earbuds to arrive on the scene. However, their rapid success will fuel a wireless listening revolution.

This wireless charging case for iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch is perfect for travelers

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Momax Airbox stores and charges your Apple devices.
Momax Airbox stores and charges your Apple devices.
Photo: Momax

Momax’s Airbox Portable Power Cabin may be the ultimate companion for your Apple devices. The clamshell case not only charges your gadgets fast with its built-in 10,000mAh battery, it also stores them on the go — including iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods or AirPods Pro.

It’ll top up your iPad quickly via USB-C as well. And there’s even a special, non-charging slot to store your Apple Pencil.

The company calls the Airbox the world’s first foldable power bank. And Momax is offering a seven-day deal that drops the price considerably — plus an extra 10% discount for Cult of Mac readers only!

AirPods dominate global smart headphones market

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Everything we’re expecting from AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro 2 helped give Apple a huge share of the smart headphones market in Q3 2022.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

If it seems like almost everyone you see wearing wireless earbuds is using AirPods, you’re not far off. Apple owns a whopping 31% of the world market – three times the market share of its closest competitor.

And the company’s lead is growing, with shipments growing strongly year-over-year, according to a market research firm.

Last chance to save 40% on SwitchEasy Apple accessories

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More discounts added!
More discounts added!
Photo: Adel Neal/ Cult of Mac

Following Black Friday, the Cult of Mac Store added massive discounts over the weekend for Cyber Monday. So not only can you get a whopping 40% off SwitchEasy iPhone 12 series cases and accessories, you can get 30% a whole lineup of other great SwitchEasy gear.

See below for more details on all the great deals on many brands you can still get in the Cult of Mac Store. But if you like what you see, don’t hesitate. This deal ends at 11:59 p.m. PDT on Friday, December 2.

Make AirPods sound like new with Belkin cleaning kit

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Make AirPods sound like new with Belkin cleaning kit
Get that yucky earwax out of your AirPods with this cleaning kit.
Photo: Belkin

Your old AirPods aren’t what they used to be. The speakers can get gummed up, degrading the audio performance. But the Belkin Cleaning Kit for AirPods can take care of the problem.

This might save you the cost of buying a new pair of Apple earbuds.

Choose the best AirPods for holiday giving

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AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
Photo: Apple

Which AirPods should you buy as gifts for family and friends this holiday season (or just for your greedy self)? It all comes down to which features you want and how much you want to spend.

Earbuds are a tough gift item because how they sound and how they fit is super-subjective. Everybody’s different.

But our guide will help you decide among the four Apple AirPods models on sale in December 2022: AirPods (2nd gen), AirPods (3rd gen), AirPods Pro (2nd gen) and AirPods Max.

These Black Friday deals on Apple gear are still going strong [Updated]

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Best Black Friday deals on MacBooks, AirPods, and iPads
These are the best Black Friday Apple deals you need to check out.
Photo: Rajesh

Black Friday 2022 is now one for the record books, but you can still take advantage of hefty discounts on Apple products.

So, if you have been looking to buy a Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods or other Apple products for a while, take advantage of the best Black Friday deals on Apple gear right now. Just bear in mind that these deals can be slippery as an eel. If you see one you like, jump on it ASAP, because there’s no guarantee it will last.