While Apple has launched a lot of new products the past couple of months, there are still some rumored devices hiding in the shadows. Products like the AirTags Bluetooth trackers and the AirPods Studio.
Even though Apple is keeping them close to its chest, there are some secrets hiding inside the iOS 14.3 beta, including confirmation of their existence.
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The absence of both products at Apple’s “One More Thing” event means neither of these products are likely to launch by the end of 2020. But iOS 14.3’s beta does confirm they exist, thanks to the inclusion of some icons. Icons that show a very different AirPods Studio design than we expected.
We can’t really work anything out from the icons themselves, but the design of the AirPods Studio in the iOS beta don’t quite match what we’ve seen so far. Previous renders of the headphones suggest the ear cups will have rectangular shaped cups and ear pads, both of which look roughly the same size. The icon, on the other hand, seems to feature larger, more rounded pads that look more like a traditional set of over-ear headphones.
The design is not miles away from that of the Bose 700, a stellar pair of over ear nose-canceling headphones. But with the AirPods Studios tipped to come with strong active noise cancellation, a custom equaliser, and smart features to balance sound regardless of which way round the headphones are worn, Apple's over-ear cans are set to be a serious Bose rival.
Of course it’s quite difficult to say for certain, because it’s an icon and artistic license may well be involved. That said we have heard rumors of a second AirPods Studio model, one that should be cheaper and “sportier” than the premium models we’ve seen so far. So perhaps Apple’s iconography is trying to match the entry-level model more people will eventually be familiar with.
Are Apple AirTags incoming?
There are also icons for a backpack and suitcase, which likely stands in for the AirTags. They are, after all, designed to help you locate your stuff, and a popular use case for Bluetooth trackers is bags and luggage. Obviously wallets and keys may get more use, but they’re not quite as visually appealing.
But unlike AirPods Studio which are, frankly, quite self explanatory (they’re headphones), the iOS 14.3 beta does include some new information on what AirTags can do.
There’s a new hidden section in the “Find My” app, which is intended for use with AirTags and other third party trackers, such as Tile. In that section there are instructions on how to set everything up, and the option to link your AirTag to your Apple ID.
That way nobody else can pinch the Tag and use it for themselves, while less unscrupulous people can scan it to find out who it belongs to -- and eventually return whatever it's attached to. Apparently setting a Tag as lost means anyone who does scan it will see your phone number so they can get in touch.
There’s plenty more in the beta too, including the launch of the ProRAW camera feature for iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, support for the PS5’s DualSense controller, third party app suggestions, the ability to update HomeKit accessories in the Home app, and more.