It’s a big week for Apple and not just because of the Apple Silicon M1 and new Macs running on it. The company also released new software, including the very first ARM-based macOS version, Big Sur. To assure its mobile users that iOS isn’t being forgotten in the flood of Mac news, Apple has also rolled out the first beta version for the upcoming iOS 14.3 and, unsurprisingly, it holds quite a few hidden treasures beyond what the changelogs say.
The year is almost over but at least two rumored Apple products haven’t made their debut yet. Given the timing, it’s unlikely that the pro-grade AirPods Studio headphones and AirTags trackers will still be making it in time for the holidays. The good news is that they haven’t been scrapped and their existence has actually been confirmed in this fresh iOS 14.3 beta.
An icon for a headphone was spotted in the beta that depicted a design never before seen in any Apple product. It also didn’t resemble earlier renders of the AirPods Studio that pointed to a more traditional domed earcup design. Instead, the headphones sport what seems to be oval cups and padded bands, opening the possibility of two AirPods Studio models.
The icon for the headphones appeared together with icons for bags and luggage, hinting at their relation to AirTags trackers. Indeed, the iOS 14.3 beta reportedly has new video guides for setting up the trackers. According to 9to5Mac, the AirTags could be tied to Apple IDs which will prevent them from being used by someone else. Conversely, it will be possible to scan an AirTag to determine who owns it, though probably via a secure and private system.
iOS and iPadOS 14.3 beta naturally has other new features, including the earlier announced ProRAW feature for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, support for the new PS5 DualSense controller, and more. One interesting tidbit is third-party app suggestions, which Apple might be implementing on a per-country basis to comply with local laws, which doesn’t include the US yet.