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Apple’s new AirPods (aka AirPods 3) are now officially official. And they look great at $179. But the price-conscious among us will note that the retail price is higher than that of the AirPods they’re replacing. That said, they come with wireless charging (and MagSafe!) out of the box.
So what does that mean for the second-generation AirPods they’re replacing? That’s not entirely clear. Figure at some point, Apple will quit selling them. But not just yet. And is often the case when an Apple product gets supplanted by something new, the Gen 2 AirPods are getting a price break and will now be available at $129.
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Apple didn’t say whether that includes the wireless charging case, though there doesn’t appear to be an option for that on the order page. The AirPods Pro will now ship with the MagSafe charging case for the same price of $249.
Here’s how the full lineup of Apple earbuds and headphones breaks down after the latest refresh:
- AirPods 2: $129
- AirPods 3: $179
- AirPods Pro: $249
- AirPods Max: $549
The real question, then, is going to be the decision about which AirPods are the ones to get. A mere $50 difference (barring any sort of sales prices) between the second- and third-generation AirPods is going to make for a pretty tough decision. Or not, perhaps, if that sort of difference keeps things at impulse-purchase level.
Perhaps the tougher decision will be between the new AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Will the latter really be worth $70 more than the former? Is the active noise cancellation alone worth that much? Maybe. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on ’em to make that call.
Also unknown is whether we’ll see the same AirPods problems we’ve seen from the two previous models. Only one way to find out.