AirPods 3: Everything we know so far
Nine 'AirPods 3' stories
February 2021 - April 2021
Apple’s AirPods are hugely popular truly wireless earbuds, and a new version is on the way. AirPods 3 are expected to be released later this year with an all-new design. Here’s everything we know so far.
Apple is expected to introduce a new version of its entry-level AirPods with an all-new design. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the new AirPods will feature a new form factor and design “similar to AirPods Pro,” though the analyst did not offer any details.
The second-generation AirPods were initially released in March 2019, bringing “Hey Siri” support and Qi wireless charging. The overall design and form factor of AirPods has stayed the same since their original release in December 2016, so they are overdue for some sort of visual redesign.
Bloomberg reported in October that Apple is planning to launch new entry-level AirPods with a shorter stem, again likening the design to the AirPods Pro.
More recent leaked images have indicated that while the design of the upcoming AirPods is similar to AirPods Pro, the AirPods 3 will not feature replaceable ear tips. This follows Apple’s strategy of marketing the entry-level AirPods as having a “universal” fit and the AirPods Pro as having a customizable fit.
As such, the charging will also be redesigned to accommodate the new earbuds. Leaked images from 52audio also claimed to offer our first real-world look at the redesigned AirPods 3. Here we can see the smaller stem, in-ear design, and redesigned battery case.
If AirPods and AirPods Pro feature a similar design, what differentiates them and helps Apple justify the higher-price of AirPods Pro? According to Bloomberg, the AirPods would lack higher-end AirPods Pro features like noise cancellation and transparency mode.
This means AirPods 3 will be very similar to the current AirPods in terms of features, with the primary changes being the new design, as well as some performance and connectivity improvements.
When will AirPods 3 be released?
AirPods 3 were initially expected to be released sometime in the spring of 2021, but that appears to no longer be happening. Instead, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently reported that AirPods 3 will launch sometime in Q3 of this year.
Apple is likely to release new iPhone models in September, and it would make sense for the company to also release new AirPods around that same time. This would also ensure AirPods 3 are readily available in time for the holiday shopping season.
How much will AirPods 3 cost?
Pricing information is unclear, but at least one report has suggested that AirPods 3 will cost roughly 20% less than AirPods Pro, which indicates a $199 price point. This is a noticeable increase in price compared to the current AirPods lineup.
Apple currently sells AirPods with wired charging case for $159 and AirPods with wireless charging case for $199. Another report has suggested that AirPods 2 will continue to be sold after AirPods 3 are introduced, giving users a low-cost option in the AirPods lineup.