AirPods 3 release date tipped as photos leak

Today we're taking a peek at a set of leaks that may well be the earliest leaked photos of AirPods 3. The Apple AirPods wireless audio devices appear to be leaked in a set of photos that show the design edged in toward a more simple, small set of devices. These aren't quite as small as AirPods Pro, but they're significantly shorter than the original AirPods design.

The first AirPods design was longest, with a stem nearly 2/3 of the entire height of the device. The same is true of AirPods 2, which saw mostly internal changes. With AirPods Pro, the stems got a whole lot shorter, representing about 40% of the full height of the device.

The big change in direction with the AirPods Pro release wasn't just in height, but in ear contact. With AirPods Pro you had a set of replaceable, interchangeable buds. AirPods and AirPods 2 work with an all-in-one design that, as we know, isn't always compatible with the ears of an on-the-go individual.

The latest design leaked this week appears to take on the best bits of the AirPods Pro design with the replaceable buds and smaller size, putting the hardware in a smaller charging case to boot. As 52Audio leaked images (shown above) show, these earbuds will very likely feature a charging light indicator too – just like the last couple of charging cases.

In some images shared this week we've seen silicone tips, in some we've seen none. It's not entirely clear just yet whether we'll get the devices with replaceable tips or not – we shall see! If you've been following the rumor stream closely, you might recognize the image immediately above as coming from the same source, back in late February 2021.

AirPods 3 will likely be sold for around $150, with wireless charging by default. Rumors suggest that we'll have a new Apple event somewhere around March 23, 2021. If so, we'll see invites to said event very, very soon. Rumors suggest that the March 23, 2021 event will reveal the AirPods 3 with a release date of March 26, 2021 – Friday of the same week. Cross your fingers and toes for a new iPad or two, too!