It doesn’t seem that long ago that the thought of listening to music or podcasts on the go through wireless earbuds seemed like something from a science fiction yarn – kind of up there with hoverboards and self-tying shoelaces.
After all, we've all spent such a long time tethered to our portable devices. Hands up if you remember the original Sony Walkman?
Now, it’s actually becoming a rare sight to see people wandering the streets with wired headphones and earbuds – and if you like working out or running, going wireless is definitely the way to go.
And while there are many big brands vying for your attention when it comes to earbuds that pack a big, bold sound, Apple’s offerings have become the most recognisable on the market.
There’s a bit of choice too, and you can pick between Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, AirPods with Charging Case, and Apple AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds. Confused?
Well, that’s where we come in to help guide you for the best fit for your ears… and your wallet.
Amazon Prime Day is on the horizon, with plenty of banging headphones bargains up for grabs. If you're planning on waiting until then to bag a great deal, keep it locked to our Prime Day headphones deals page for the latest news and offers.
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Apple AirPod deals: latest prices and deals
It's actually quite rare to see Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro on sale because of the wide appeal, so if you spot a price drop, it's definitely worthwhile putting down the cash straight away.
Get to know the official RRP for each type of Apple AirPod so you won't be stung by unscrupulous retailers who might attempt to pull the wool over your eyes. The official RRP prices set by Apple are:
- Apple AirPods with Charging Case £159/$159
- Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case £199/$199
- Apple AirPods Pro £249/$249
It's also worth mentioning that it's a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for any deals you might see on refurbished AirPods. As you might expect, these often come in at a much cheaper price and could be worth exploring if you want the cheapest AirPods possible... and that's regardless of which generation they are. Just keep in mind that they are refurbished, so you may not get a guarantee with them.
What are Apple AirPods wireless earphones?
Apple’s Bluetooth true wireless earphones are known by many names, including Apple AirPods 2, AirPods 2019 and AirPods gen 2. Three names for the same pair of wireless earphones, and not to be confused with the top-of-the-range AirPods Pro (keep reading).
They retail for £159/$159 for the Apple AirPods with Charging Case and £199/$199 for the Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case.
These newer Apple AirPods are powered by an H1 headphone chip and have an improved battery life, helping them last for up to five hours listening time and three hours of talk time per single charge. That’s an improvement on the original Apple AirPods.
On top of this enhanced battery life, the AirPods now have integrated Siri voice assistant technology, so you can say “Hey Siri” to take advantage of these voice smarts on the move; no need to tap to activate Siri this time.
You can buy Apple AirPods with a standard charging case that charges via lightning cable to USB, or with a wireless charging case, which you sit on a Qi-compatible charging mat to juice up the earbuds. Of course, you can also use a lightning connector with these too. Both cases hold multiple charges, helping you to extend their playback time on the move; up to a full 24 hours, in fact.
While there are differences between the original AirPods and the latest models, we believe it’s still definitely worth snapping up a pair of the original AirPods if you see a good deal and just want the cheapest pair of AirPods you buy. Bizarrely, though, the first-gen is often more expensive than the current model. Strange world, right?
What are Apple AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds?
Apple AirPods Pro are the flagship model in Apple’s current Bluetooth wireless earbuds range, and retail for £249 / $249. They come with a wireless charging case and are available only in white, just like the other AirPods.
The biggest differences between the AirPods Pro and the AirPods are that the Pro true wireless earbuds sound incredible. The ‘stems’ of the latest Apple earbuds also look shorter, which is good news for those of you who don’t appreciate the unique style of the longer stems on the AirPods and especially the first generation.
The AirPods Pro boast custom built high-excursion, low distortion drivers to really drive that powerful bass home – trust us, Rush's Geddy Lee, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Les Claypool from Primus have never sounded so good.
A high dynamic range amp also delivers crystal clear sound, while Adaptive EQ automatically tunes music to suit the shape of your ear. In short, this is a stunning listening experience from the start.
Even with active noise cancellation (ANC) tech thrown in, the AirPod Pros are still incredibly light at 45.6g. Why would you need ANC? To block out a noisy home environment for a start, so that you can focus more intently on the music, podcast or audiobook you’re listening to. When you need to let outside noise in, such as when your boss is talking to you, switch to Transparency mode.
Apple AirPod deals: what are the alternatives?
It's just a fact that quality true wireless earphones and Bluetooth wireless headphones cost extra than bog standard headphones. That’s just the way it is. What you’re paying for is quality sound, ease of use, and a lightweight yet comfortable feel. You get all of those with the Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro.
That said, if you do want to explore some alternatives, whether cheaper or more expensive cans, and whether wireless or wired headphones, including budget wireless headphones, you have plenty of choice. Just check out the stunning headphones, for a range of budgets, music tastes and uses, in our expert buying guides:
- The best over-ear headphones: The ultimate music listening experience
- The best headphones overall: Take your listening to a whole new level
- The best wireless headphones: Get the ultimate sound
- The best budget wireless headphones: Great sounds and a nice price
- The best budget noise cancelling headphones: Block out and tune in