Rumor mill: Apple is reportedly planning to launch an entry-level AirPods model by the end of this year. The company is also said to be working on an upgraded AirPods Max that could hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2024.

The tip comes from Haitong International Securities analyst and well-known Apple insider Jeff Pu (via MacRumors), whose latest research note claims that Apple's upcoming affordable earbuds will be marketed as AirPods Lite and be manufactured in India by a Foxconn subsidiary. It's expected to enter production later this year. The analyst also said that he believes the updated AirPods Max will be released in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Pu's research note is in line with an earlier report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who claimed that Apple is planning to introduce two new AirPods models in September or October. According to Gurman, one of them will be an entry-level model, while the other will be a mid-tier offering. Both are expected to have a redesigned charging case with a USB-C port, but the pricier pair could also come with active noise cancellation and a speaker for Find My location tracking.

The Bloomberg report also stated that the fourth-generation AirPods model will go into mass production in May, with Apple planning to ship between 20 and 25 million units globally. The new models are expected to replace the second and third-generation AirPods as part of Apple's plans to modernize its earbuds lineup. The report also claimed that the upcoming AirPods will have model numbers B768(E) and B768(M), where E stands for "entry" and the M stands for "mid-tier."

Apple's current AirPods lineup includes four models, starting with the second-generation AirPods, priced at $129. The mid-tier model is the third-generation AirPods that's available with either a Lightning or MagSafe case. While the former is priced at $169, the latter can be purchased for $179. At the top end of the spectrum is the second-gen AirPods Pro, priced at $249. In addition to the earbuds, Apple also sells the AirPods Max headphones for $549.