Apple AirPods 3 Rumor Roundup: Expected Release Date, Price, Features, and more!
Apple is all set to launch the new iPhone 13 series at its special event slated to take place on 14th September. While there’s no confirmation yet as to what products are launching at this event, there are several rumors pointing towards multiple devices. Of course, the iPhone 13 series would be the highlight with four new phones. But according to some reports, the Apple Watch Series 7 and the AirPods 3 might also be unveiled at the same event.
Leading up to the launch, as usual, we have several leaks and rumors surrounding the AirPods 3 which we’ll cover in this article. Right from the expected price to all the new features, here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming AirPods 3.
Apple AirPods 3: Release Date
The AirPods 2 were launched back in early 2019 so it’s been more than two years since the baseline AirPods have seen a refresh. Of course, Apple also launched the AirPods Pro later that year but they cater to a different audience. Given that two years is generally the timeframe Apple follows for the AirPods refresh, it’s safe to say that the AirPods 3 is set to launch sometime soon.
As mentioned already, Apple is holding an event on 14th September and it makes sense for them to launch the AirPods 3 alongside the new iPhone. DigiTimes reports there’s a good chance Apple’s 3rd generation of earbuds will launch at this event. A previous report had suggested the AirPods 3 will ship in Q3 2021 which falls in line perfectly with the event scheduled for 14th September. It’s also possible that the earbuds are announced at the event but may ship at a later date due to the worldwide chip shortage.
More recently, @PineLeaks on Twitter posted a series of tweets about the new iPhone 13 series and also mentioned some key pointers about the AirPods 3 which indicates it may launch alongside the iPhone itself.
AirPods 3: Price and Availability
Several reports have claimed the AirPods 3 will be cheaper than the AirPods Pro, which makes sense given that the Pro series will remain to be Apple’s flagship TWS line-up. They will however cost more than the second-gen AirPods according to some leaks, which isn’t too surprising given the advancement and addition of new features. The AirPods 2 cost $159 at launch and the AirPods Pro cost $249.
A sweet spot in the middle would indicate a price of about $199, but this is just mere speculation. Given the AirPods Pro has been out for two years now, they’re available for much lower than their launch price and around or even lower than $200 as of writing. If the AirPods 3 launch for $199, the Pro variant might cannibalize its sales.
As for availability, the AirPods 3 are expected to launch all over the world in all countries where Apple sells its products. It may not be available across the globe on the day of launch, but it will slowly make its way everywhere.
The original and second-gen AirPods have a half in-ear design which means they don’t have silicone ear tips that rest deep inside the ear cavity. Instead, they lightly rest on your ear and don’t create a vacuum seal. This is something a lot of people prefer given that it’s more comfortable in some scenarios and doesn’t isolate you completely from environmental sounds. The AirPods 3 is also expected to carry forward the same design philosophy, but with a slight mix of the AirPods Pro’s aesthetics.
Unlike the AirPods Pro, the AirPods 3 may not have in-ear silicone tips but will adopt a similar form factor for the shape of the earbuds. What this means is the earbuds may be slightly chunkier and have a more rounded shape with a smaller stem. Think of it as the AirPods Pro but without the silicone tips. Of course, it will be made to fit comfortably in your ears, so the opening at the speaker would probably be slightly smaller.
These are inferences that we’ve made based on the leaked images of the AirPods Pro by 52Audio. LeaksApplePro also posted an image that shows a similar open design with no ear tips. According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, the AirPods 3 will get the shorter stem from the AirPods Pro, which is also in line with the leaked images that we’re seeing. The AirPods second-gen didn’t have any sort of water resistance or IP rating, so we’re hoping the AirPods 3 will have it so you can wear them to the gym.
The biggest new feature expected on the AirPods 3 is Active Noise Cancellation or ANC. One of the biggest selling points of the AirPods Pro is that the ANC on board is one of the best you can get on a pair of TWS earbuds, and it would be great to see it on the AirPods 3 as well. However, with an open design, we’re not sure how effectively Apple will be able to implement ANC. The passive isolation provided by silicone ear tips also plays a big role in cutting out environmental sounds.
It’s also worth considering that the AirPods 3 will be priced lower than the launch price of the AirPods Pro, so there’s a good chance Apple might decide to skimp out on ANC for the cheaper earbuds. Spatial audio was a feature that was introduced on the AirPods Pro and it might make its way to the AirPods 3 as well. But again, we’re not sure how immersive the experience would be given the open design.
Apple recently introduced lossless audio on Apple Music but no existing pair of AirPods supports transmission of lossless audio. The AirPods 3 might be the first one to do so, but considering the most premium headphones Apple has to offer — the AirPods Max — don’t support streaming higher bitrates, the chances of the AirPods 3 getting it seems bleak. Of course, the AirPods 3 will come with Apple’s own in-house chip that would let you pair them quickly with your iPhone and sync across all your Apple devices.
Given that the design is similar to that of the AirPods Pro, we’re assuming that the pinch controls will also make their way to the AirPods 3, replacing the touch controls on the AirPods 2. There were also some rumors about AirTags-like finding functionality coming to the AirPods but we’re not sure it’s going to happen with the AirPods 3. The case of the earbuds is said to be slightly larger to accommodate a 20% larger battery compared to the second-gen AirPods as per PineLeaks. The tweet also mentions that the sound quality will remain more or less similar to the AirPods 2 but with better bass and low-ends.
Wireless charging is rumored to be a standard feature now on the AirPods 3. If you want to charge via the wired method, you’ll get a lightning port on the bottom.
These are all the new features and improvements that are expected to come with the new AirPods 3. Apple’s event isn’t too far off so hopefully, we can see the new pair of earbuds launch alongside the iPhone 13. Are you looking forward to getting the AirPods 3? What features would you want Apple to include that are currently not present on the AirPods? Let us know below!