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A new case for the AirPods Pro will drop this fall alongside the upcoming iPhone 15 family, featuring charging over USB-C instead of Lightning.
Apple is also said to be developing the next AirPods Pro and AirPods Max models, but no word on when they might arrive.
A hearing test feature is in development, too. Additionally, work on health sensors for future AirPods continues, but a launch isn’t imminent.AirPods Pro getting a USB-C case this fall
According to the latest edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, the current second-generation AirPods Pro will transition from the Lightning port on the charging case to its USB-C counterpart.
Apple is also said to adopt USB-C across the iPhone 15 models, so this new USB-C charging case should arrive alongside the iPhone 15 family in the fall.
Other AirPods models will get USB-C charging, too, as Gurman notes that Apple “has plans to move to USB-C on future generations of its other audio products.”The next AirPods Pro and AirPods Max
Regarding a refresh to the current AirPods Pro, they remain in development but don’t expect an imminent launch, according to Gurman’s newsletter. On top of that, the newsletter mentions that there are plans for a new AirPods Max model as well.
The iPhone maker has yet to update its $549 over-ear headphones since their December 2023 debut, so this will be an overdue but welcome refresh.
As iDB mentioned earlier, the AirPods Max are already outdated in supporting the latest audio features in iOS 17, like a button press to mute yourself on calls, Conversation Awareness and others.$99 AirPods could be huge
Gurman writes that Apple should cut the price of its second-generation AirPods from $129 down to $99, which he considers a sweet price point.
There’s something else that Apple could consider doing: cutting the price of its cheapest AirPods. The second-generation models still work well and offer value at their $129 price point. But they would be an even better buy and stocking stuffer at $99—and could make the AirPods an even stronger rival to new offerings from Samsung, Sony and Amazon.
This is almost certainly wishful thinking on Gurman’s part, as he doesn’t seem to have learned about this from the obligatory “people familiar with the matter.”A hearing test feature
iOS 17 adds new AirPods features, but Apple is also developing a new hearing test capability that could arrive later via a software update. Building on top of Conversation Boost and Live Listen, it should work similarly to hearing tests on other earbuds, playing different tones to discover hearing issues.
“The idea is to help users screen for hearing issues, not unlike how the Apple Watch ECG app checks for heart problems,” he writes. The feature sounds like it might “Sherlock” specialized hearing-test apps, such as Mimi.
Interestingly, Gurman says Apple met with Mimi’s developers a few years ago.What about health sensors?
There have been multiple reports over the past few years about Apple exploring integrating health sensors within future earbuds.
If true, future AirPods could measure your body temperature and warn you if it indicates illness like a cold. Apple owns many patents related to miniature body temperature and heart rate sensors for future earbuds.
While the health features are likely several months or even years away, there will be other changes sooner. As part of the iPhone 15’s shift from Lightning to a USB-C port, Apple is planning to make the same switch on the AirPods Pro’s charging case. It also has plans to move to USB-C on future generations of its other audio products.
Lastly, Gurman’s learned that Apple has been exploring “how it could better position AirPods as a hearing aid, a $10 billion-a-year market that’s ripe for reinvention.”AirPods tutorials you may like
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