We may earn a commission if you click a deal and buy an item. This is how we make money.

AirPods 3: Everything we know about the 3rd gen wireless earbuds

The AirPods 3 are in development and the latest leak has potentially given us our first look at what the headphones look like.

Other rumours include an early 2021 release date and improved features for the entry-level true wireless. Here’s what you need to know about the AirPods 3.

Related: What we know about the Apple AirPod Pro 2

When will the AirPods 3 be released?

The new AirPods are rumoured to go on sale in 2021.

John Prosser said the 3rd-gen model were due to be unveiled in 2020, but that was never likely to be the case. Some reports say that Apple has internally discussed a launch in early 2021, and this would make sense with what’s been said throughout 2020, with mass production of the earbuds thought to begin in the first-half of 2021.

Related: Best wireless earbuds

How much will the AirPods 3 cost?

The 2nd-gen AirPods (with wireless case) were £199/$199. We’d expect the AirPods 3rd gen will be priced the same with the 2nd-gen either removed from sale or reduced in price.

What will the the new AirPods look like?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the AirPods 3 could have a different design than previous versions.

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

An image surfaced on website 52audio of an earbud that looks similar-ish to the design of the AirPods Pro, which would seem to indicate that both Kuo and Bloomberg are on the right track.

If these images are true, it would mean that Apple is ditching the longstanding ‘droopy’ design and going for a shorter stem and replaceable eartips. The result would be a much better fit and better audio performance.

Related: AirPods Studio − everything we know

What features will the AirPods 3 have?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, as well as adopting the Pro’s design, the AirPods 3 will adopt the earbud’s SiP technology. SiP stands for system-in-package chip solution, and this could mean the circuit componentry takes up less space for more features to be put in. Active noise cancellation is not thought to be coming to this model, however.

Patently Apple noticed a patent about the AirPod’s sensors that gather information about orientation and measurements from the accelerometer. Info from the AirPod will 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.” One scenario for this use would be striking a yoga pose.

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

There have been long-standing rumours that Apple has looked at integrating a speaker connection into future AirPods’ charging cases. A patent from 2017 details a charging case for a wireless listening device such as “a pair of wireless earbuds”, that’s configured to “transmit the media to a non-wireless output device connected to the case.”

From the illustration included with the patent (below), it looks like a speaker dock, with the AirPods slotting on top.

Apple’s patent illustration, as filed with USPTO

The case detailed could allow for music to be streamed wirelessly to the AirPods and transmitted to a speaker. File this under interesting, but unlikely for now.