What are AirPods Pro Lite?
The AirPods Pro Lite are rumored to be an upcoming model of truly wireless headphones by Apple. They are expected to be more capable than the regular AirPods, but slightly cheaper than the premium AirPods Pro.
The original AirPods (late 2016) were among the first truly wireless earphones. They boosted the interest in this fledgling category of tech products and established themselves as undisputed leaders. In early 2019, Apple followed with an upgraded version which added a number of things such as wireless charging, "Hey Siri" and slightly better battery life. In late 2019, Apple released a higher-tier variant called AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro have been a runaway success – they came at a significantly higher price, but introduced an improved design, dramatically better sound quality and active noise cancellation.
Now, word is Apple is working on a product that is supposed to slide between the AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The rumor mill is referring to that product as the AirPods Pro Lite, but that is by no means its official name.
AirPods Pro Lite release date
So, when will AirPods Pro Lite come out? We wish we knew! And sadly, it's not like we're drowning in leaks right now.
But we can take a look at the next probable dates when Apple could announce the mysterious earbuds. Naturally, what comes to mind first is Apple's September event – the company's flagship event where it always reveals its big iPhone releases. This isn't at all unlikely, as the original AirPods were unveiled at precisely such an event. So, this year, we might see the new AirPods Pro Lite launch alongside the iPhone 12 series.
Alternatively, the AirPods Pro got their own "online" release in November last year, which was after the big iPhone event had long finished. So the possibility of Apple launching the new AirPods Pro Lite at any time later this year is also quite real. No single release window currently has any real backing, though. Hopefully we get more AirPods Pro Lite leaks soon that would narrow the options a bit.
AirPods Pro Lite price
Ah, this is the other money question: how much are the AirPods Pro Lite going to cost! The only lead we have in terms of pricing is that the Pro Lite are supposed to be positioned between the AirPods and AirPods Pro.
The basic AirPods cost $159.
The same AirPods but with wireless charging case come in at $199.
The premium AirPods Pro cost $249.
Now, that obviously doesn't leave much room for the Pro Lite to slot in, does it? The way things stand right now, we can't really see how the rumored model could squeeze itself into the line-up. That said, the TWS (true wireless stereo) market is beginning to saturate, and, as usual, Apple is starting to feel some pressure from the more affordable segments. With that in mind, Apple might want to push price of the regular AirPods a bit lower to fend of the players in the low-$100 space.
A fairly conservative possibility would be to have the AirPods at $149, and then the AirPods Pro Lite at $199, and the Pro at $249. That would make for a nice, even distribution across the TWS price spectrum. But this, of course, is pure speculation. Regardless, the $200 mark is roughly the area we expect Apple to position the Pro Lite in, if the model ever comes to light.
AirPods Pro Lite features
AirPods Pro Lite vs AirPods Pro
At this point, there is absolutely no information with regards to the eventual AirPods Pro Lite specs. There is some debate going on around the tech community what the middle-of-the-road earbuds should be like, and while some see active noise cancellation as a must have feature, we believe it might as well not be present.
ANC is fairly taxing and makes for a great premium differentiator. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro also bring a superb audio quality enhancement over the regular AirPods. With this in mind, it wouldn't surprise us if the mythical AirPods Pro Lite keep the same design as the AirPods Pro, and deliver the same superb audio quality, but lose the active noise cancellation. This doesn't seem so unthinkable, if you consider the rubber-tip design of the Pro (and possibly the Pro Lite), which is among the best when it comes to the rubber material, the fit and the comfort. Thus, Apple could easily market the Pro Lite as having passive noise cancellation, and call it a day.
Aside from all that, as we said, if we can trust that the nickname Pro Lite describes the rumored model accurately enough, we'd expect it to keep the same physical design and audio quality. Also, there will surely be Hey Siri support, as well as the same degree of water-resistance.