AirPods 3 could have AirPods Pros' best feature — here's the proof

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Whether you’re more interested in the regular AirPods or the in-ear AirPods Pro, everyone can agree we’re about due for some sort of upgrade, whatever form that upgrade may take.

Well there’s news on the AirPods 3 front, with a new leaked image suggesting that they’ll be taking some inspiration from the design of the AirPods Pro.

In fact, if this image from 52audio is anything to go by, the AirPods 3 may ditch the traditional EarPods-inspired design in favour of the silicone-tipped in-ear design of the AirPods Pro.

airpods 3 design leak

(Image credit: 52audio)

As you can see, the image shows off what looks like an interior piece of the wireless charging case, plus the top of an actual AirPod earbud itself. Unsurprisingly it looks much like the AirPods Pro, with space for the silicone ear tip and a more rounded design that puts the standard AirPods to shame.

The question as to why Apple might ditch the standard AirPods design it’s been using since the days of wired EarPods should be obvious. When we reviewed the AirPods Pro we noted just how comfortable they were; neither too loose fitting or overly snug.

However it’s not entirely clear what this means for the AirPods 3’s feature set. While having a more comfortable fit is one thing, it seems likely Apple would hold back on features to make the AirPods Pro 2 more appealing when they’re released, which is currently rumored to be Q4 2021 at the earliest.

However the authenticity of the photos is always in some doubt, especially with all the knock-off AirPods out there. But this design does corroborate a recent rumor from Bloomberg about the AirPods 3. Namely that Apple will be opting for a more AirPods Pro-inspired design, a shorter stem, and improved battery life. We can all agree those are all good things.

Now we just need to know when. Unfortunately, it's been reported that the AirPods 3 won’t be arriving this year, even though we still have another Apple event on the way. Thankfully they should be arriving sometime in the first half of 2021, which means we won’t be waiting for quite as long as the AirPods Pro 2.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.