large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

AirPods 3: Everything that we know about the next AirPods

Apple’s September Event has come and gone, and despite pre-event speculation suggesting that the AirPods 3 would launch alongside the iPhone 13, it turns out that Apple had other ideas.

And so the wait goes on for concrete information Apple’s next true wireless, which may have been postponed until the next Apple event.

Here are the latest leaks and rumours about the AirPods 3. Although apparently we shouldn’t expect them to be called that when they’re finally announced…

When will the AirPods 3 be released?

Apple has confirmed an event on September 14, and though online scuttlebutt suggested the third-gen true wireless buds would make their bow there, the buds did not make an appearance at the event.

Still, a number of reputable sources have said that the true wireless will arrive in 2021, with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg reporting the new AirPods will arrive in 2021. Given Apple has another event scheduled for September, perhaps we could see them there, or will Apple even bother announcing at an event and drop them at a moment’s notice. We’ll have to wait and find out what Apple has in store.

How much will the AirPods 3 cost?

The 2nd-gen AirPods (with the wireless case) cost £199 / $199. Our guess is that the AirPods 3rd gen will fetch a similar price with – according to a report from Ming-Chi Kuo – the 2nd-gen either staying at its current price or being knocked down to become the entry level offering.

Kuo’s report has led some to think that the newer AirPods could be more expensive this time around, but we’d guess that they’d simply replace the 2nd-gen as the middle option, with the older model become the de-factor entry level status.

The Beats Studio Buds fulfil that affordable true wireless with noise cancellation, but they don’t have wireless charging, which the 2nd-gen AirPods do.

What will the the new AirPods look like?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the AirPods 3 are likely to boast a different look. If true, that would be biggest redesign since the AirPods range first appeared.

Kuo believes that the AirPods 3 will have a similar form factor to the AirPods Pro, and that’s a claim backed up by Bloomberg.

A leak from early 2021 revealed a new design. Spotted by MacRumors, the render concept had ear-tips attached, with the suggestion they could be attached or detached.

Another image surfaced on Japanese website 52audio. It’s of an earbud that looks like the AirPods Pro, and it’s this model we reckon Apple will launch in September.

Another image has since popped up offering a third take. From the bulbous housing and what looks like a slightly shorter stem, what’s missing is an ear-tip. Both LeaksApplePro and Gizmochina have uncovered similar looking renders.

It seems as if Apple has been testing out different designs, but which will Apple end up choosing?

The charging case also appears to have been tweaked to make it wider and curvier. That gives us hope the battery life could be extended beyond 24 hours.

And what about colours? It’s been a bugbear that Apple only ships the AirPods in a glossy white finish that attracts dirt. With the AirPods Max available in several different colours – and more potentially on the way – could the same beckon for the AirPods 3?

What features will the AirPods 3 have?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, as well as adopting the Pro’s design, the AirPods 3 will include the Pro’s SiP technology.

SiP stands for system-in-package chip solution, and this could reduce the amount of space the circuit componentry takes up for more features to be put in. Active noise cancellation is not expected, however.

Apple announced lossless quality audio for Apple Music in 2021, but if the new AirPods continue support for AAC it’s unlikely they’d be able to support lossless audio but they’re mooted to support Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.

Patently Apple found a patent about AirPod sensors that gather information about orientation and measurements from the accelerometer. Info from the AirPod is intended to be used in conjunction with an iPhone to supply “the user with coaching and feedback while evaluating user performance of a head movement routine or other exercise routine.” A scenario for this would be striking a yoga pose or training in a gym.

We’ve heard about features such as ambient light sensors that could provide biometric feedback. This would also lead into the health-related features that have circulated the AirPods for the past few years.

Battery life is another area that could be upgraded with PineLeaks Twitter account suggesting it could be boosted by as much as 20% an that wireless charging will come as standard.

Other rumoured features include a pressure relieving system designed to reduced discomfort over extended listening sessions, and a new audio test function to determine whether the quality of the earbuds’ sound requires adjusting.

The feature was leaked by Twitter user Fudge, and the image below seems to depict a new phone holder with an attachment for the AirPods pointed towards the iPhone microphone. From there it can assess whether there’s an issue with the AirPods’s audio quality.

That’s all we know about the AirPods 3. With the AirPods skipping Apple’s September event entirely, we’ll have to wait and see for any announcements ahead of the October event.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.