While the exact AirPods 3 release date remains unknown, this report seems to confirm two oft-rumored details about Apple’s next big AirPods product: that it will go on sale this year, and will feature a new design inspired by the AirPods Pro.
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Bloomberg’s report mainly covered the AirPods Pro 2, a more premium and apparently fitness-focused set of buds slated for launch in 2022. Still, it backed up what we’ve heard in rumors and seen in various photo leaks regarding the AirPods 3 design, with shorter stems replacing the long stalks of the current-gen AirPods.
As the purported photo leaks (like the one above) show, this has produced an AirPods 3 design which isn’t an exact copy of the AirPods Pro — note the lack of removable ear tips, for instance — but does look classier and more compact. It should allow for a smaller charging case, something the Bloomberg's report also notes.
As for the release window, various sources have pointed to the AirPods 3 arriving in the second half of 2021, other than one dubious claim that Apple would reveal the buds as part of its recent Apple Music lossless announcement. This new report is one of the more reputable sources to claim the AirPods 3 will come later this year. So the AirPods 3 could very feasibly become the annual AirPods launch for this year, following 2020’s AirPods Max and, allegedly, now the 2022 AirPods Pro 2.
All that said, one thing we’re still waiting on is a solid indication of the AirPods 3 feature set. Spatial audio seems likely, especially since it’s also coming to Apple Music, but active noise cancellation may be more of a distant hope. With the Sony WF-1000XM4 coming soon and the Google Pixel Buds 2 reportedly supporting ANC, the AirPods 3 will need a few tricks of its own to challenge rival earbuds.
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