AirPods 3: everything we know about Apple’s future wireless headphones

Apple should soon announce new AirPods, with a third generation whose main change would relate to the design. We take stock while waiting for the presentation, which could take place during the back-to-school keynote (along with the iPhone 13).

It’s now been over two years since Apple launched the AirPods 2, a second generation that had gained a wireless charging case and ‘Hey Siri’ voice command compatibility. Since then, the Cupertino company has not renewed its most affordable headphones, preferring to address the most demanding – with the AirPods Pro – and / or the wealthy – with the AirPods Max. In 2021, it is expected that the AirPods 3 will be made official.

The rumors have been quite insistent for several months. And, as is often the case with Apple, the when is more of a question than the what. An indiscretion relayed by AppleTrack on May 13 referred to an announcement on Tuesday, May 18, but no press release has been published to date. The presentation could instead take place this Tuesday, September 14, during the back-to-school keynote which will focus on the iPhone 13 range.

Everything we know about AirPods 3

Design: AirPods 3 would look like AirPods Pro

By switching from AirPods to AirPods 2, Apple had not changed anything in the design, retaining this rod which was the subject of some mockery (but which also allows them to be recognized from afar). For the AirPods 3, the Cupertino company would review its copy with a shorter rod, and offering some touch controls. The idea would be to look a little more like the AirPods Pro, whose more versatile look is very convincing.

Based on photos released by 52 Audio on March 12, the AirPods 3 wouldn’t offer varying-sized silicone tips – unlike the AirPods Pro. We would then end up with a more universal form, likely to satisfy a maximum of users (such as AirPods 1 and 2).

The AirPods 3 would of course be delivered in a case capable of recharging them. They should be reminiscent of the AirPods Pro in form, and offer wireless charging.

Rumor AirPods 3 // Source: 52 Audio

Will the AirPods 3 offer active noise cancellation?

Some hope so, but Apple is unlikely to equip AirPods 3 with Active Noise Canceling – a feature only available to AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. For the multinational, this technology, associated with a bluffing transparent mode, is a way to differentiate its range and to offer products at different prices. Incorporating noise reduction into the AirPods 3 wouldn’t really make sense, and might doom the AirPods Pro.

On the other hand, the AirPods 3 should be equipped with the H1 chip, which would make them compatible with the Spatial Audio rendering (Dolby Atmos) announced for the Apple Music service in a press release dated May 17. The idea is to offer a more immersive audio rendering, at no additional cost (the subscription will still be at 9.99 euros per month).

Apple Music with Dolby Atmos // Source: Apple

The AirPods 2 rely on a battery life of 5 hours on a single charge (24 hours in all with the case). Will it be improved on the next generation? No one would know how to say it, knowing that the AirPods Pro are satisfied with 4.30 hours with noise reduction activated (5 hours without). We will probably not have to wait for an evolution on this point.

How much will the AirPods 3 cost?

The AirPods 2, which regularly benefit from promotions, are sold from 179 euros (229 euros with the case compatible with wireless charging). Perhaps Apple will take advantage of this third generation to market only one model (which would not ignore wireless charging).

According to information from Ming-Chi Kuo shared by MacRumors on September 12, two scenarios would be possible for the price list: ” AirPods 3 are priced higher than AirPods 2, and AirPods 2 are holding their price. The price of AirPods 3 is the same as AirPods 2, and AirPods 2 are dropping in price. Because yes, the AirPods 2 would still be sold.

Apple’s AirPods line of headphones would look like this :

AirPods (2nd gen) AirPods (3rd gen) AirPods Pro
‘Say Siri’
Wireless charging ✅ (optional)
Active noise reduction
Interchangeable tips
Space Audio
Price Around 200 € Between 200 and 279 € € 279

Article originally published on May 17, 2021 and updated on September 14, 2021

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