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AirPods 3 redesign just confirmed in new report

Apple AirPods 3 leak
(Image credit: 52 Audio)

Apple is preparing its AirPods 3 wireless earbuds to launch this year, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

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.

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. 

  • Dognizzer
    At the end, regarding competition and differentiation for AirPods, you are missing one very important thing - consumers like me who absolutely hate the ear tip design of most other non-airpod options. There are very, very few choices overall (let alone good ones) for earbud designs that don't try to wedge something in your ear (such as the AirPods pro). This is a little more personal of a note, but I have had a semi-uncontrollable twitch with my ears since I was in high school. It's the sort of thing that doesn't happen unless I think about it, or I'm stressed, etc. - every in-ear earbud design I've tried has aggravated this, and what ends up happening is my twitch loosens them. Sure, I can do over the ear, but I'm not keen on walking around in public with my ears completely covered. AirPods have been my savior here, and I really really hope they don't ever switch these to a design that is similar to the AirPods Pro (and thus, nearly every other premium earbud).