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AirPods 3 release date just leaked — here’s what to expect

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(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We know that the AirPods 3 are coming — Apple’s wireless earbuds have proven popular enough to support multiple version, so coming out with a third iteration just makes sense. What we’re less clear about is when the updated earbuds will arrive, given that 2020 has already done a number on Apple’s release schedule for a number of products.

But a new date just emerged, courtesy of a leaker who thinks we’ll see the AirPods 3 in March 2021.

The new date comes from LeaksApplePro who tweeted simply that "AirPods 3 on track for a release in March." While this particularly leaker has a mixed track record — some iPhone 12 forecasts spot on, others missed the mark — this date seems solid. It’s certainly in line with what we’ve heard from Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo, who was predicting a 2021 launch for the AirPods 3 back during the summer. The LeaksApplePro tweet is a bit more specific, though.

As far as what to expect from the new AirPods, it’s widely assumed that the new models will look a lot like the AirPods Pro, with smaller stems. That could mean a smaller charging case as well.

A smaller size won’t necessarily mean shorter battery life, as reports claim that Apple is working to improve listening time. Over the summer, Apple won a patent for a new contextual audio system that could lower or cut audio volume when a potential hazard is nearby — a feature that could also find its way into the AirPods 3. We’d also expect some recent iOS 14 additions to other AirPods like Dolby Atmos support and spatial audio to be on the short list for features, too.

AirPods figure to be a hot item this holiday season, but if you can hold off on getting yourself earbuds, it sounds like a new model could be ready in the spring.