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Apple AirPods 3 noise cancelling ‘focus mode’ hidden in new iOS 13 beta

When Amazon Buds were announced last week, we pointed out a major leg up on AirPods and much of the competition – the presence of noise reduction tech courtesy of Bose.

Well, it might not be too long before Apple evens the score, with a new version of AirPods that offer noise cancellation technology.

This isn’t some rumour from an analyst in China, the information is right there within the latest iOS 13.2 beta released for developers just yesterday. The report comes from one of the authorities on these matters, 9to5Mac‘s Guilherme Rambo, who pores over iOS code with a comb so fine-toothed it could give Sir Jony Ive a new hairdo.

Rambo, who has drawn first blood with many Apple stories in the past, believes the noise cancellation tech will be called “focus mode”, indicating it’ll be deployed when wearers need to shut the outside world out.

Related: Best wireless earbuds 2019

Something to look out for in future reports on this matter is the purposed model name, B298. Rambo also spotted an icon within the code within the accessibility settings, which suggests they might also be a device designed to be used as a hearing aid.

A noise cancelling mode would be a departure from how Apple has marketed AirPods until now, as an accessory that can be worn whether or not users are listening to audio or not, even while interacting with other people on a face-to-face basis.

We’ve been expecting a true next generation version of AirPods for a while now, given the version announced this year didn’t exactly go the whole hog, despite bringing wireless charging and hands-free “Hey Siri” functionality. We’re still hoping for features like waterproofing and the aforementioned noise cancelling technology.

Whether the addition of these features would boost the price point far beyond the £159 Apple currently asks for AirPods remains to be seen. However, Amazon’s undercutting of £119 for Buds makes a big bump less likely.

Might we see AirPods 3 at Apple’s rumoured iPad Pro refresh event last month? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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