This is how the third-generation AirPods could turn up

AirPods can be loosely considered pioneers in the true wireless earbuds space for a lot of reasons. However, the appearance smudged over time with exciting non-Apple options to pursue. Second-generation AirPods made a diluted effort to reclaim lost ground with their launch in 2019, but it's the third-generation AirPods (colloquially called AirPods 3) that are billed to up the ante with some inspiration from the AirPods Pro and starting few paces above the AirPods 2's key features.

For the better part of two years now, fanboys have been eagerly waiting for the AirPods 3. Even now, there is no official confirmation of a release from Apple. Going by the speculations, the third-gen earbuds should release as early as this month. Earlier rumors hinted that the AirPods 3 could appear in spring this year, which did not happen, so indications are it will launch alongside the iPhone 13.

Quick glance

The third-generation true wireless earbuds from Apple are believed to arrive with a subtle redesign. The earbuds could have a smaller form factor than the predecessors – where shorter stem is most likely – along with wireless charging making its way. These are likely changes irrespective of rumored active noise cancellation and spatial audio feature being included or not.

Latest Bloomberg report suggests, the third-gen AirPods could remain devoid of noise cancellation feature. But it does affirm the possibility of an AirPods Pro-like appearance, which in this case is earmarked to shorter stem. Other than this, Apple may have a new wireless chip for the accessory. If a tinier system in a package finds its way into the AirPods 3, we can expect a longer range, better performance and a much-needed increase in efficiency.

What’s likely

Apple's next affordable pair of earbuds is far from an official affirmation but rumors strongly claim the AirPods 3 is in development. They will have a rounded design and as said, a shorter stem pretty similar to the AirPods Pro. Leaked images of the upcoming wireless earbuds have been seen. These images show smaller stems, which are in tune with the rumors about the subtle design enhancement expected in the next-generation AirPods.

Given the rounded shape, which should make the buds fit much better in the ear, Apple is expected to provide swappable silicone ear tips along with the AirPods 3 for snug fit and comfort. Speculations have gone back and forth regarding inclusion of silicone ear tips like those found with the noise cancelling AirPods Pro, but some trusted sources have stood by the fact that the detachable ear tips shall be part of the package to at least make passive noise cancellation possible.

Active noise cancelling is, however, the most hyped and recommended feature but it's also the most safeguarded from Apple's side of things. It is therefore unclear whether Apple has made provision for ANC in the AirPods 3 or not.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is amid a few advocates in favor of the noise cancelling ability from the superior earbuds flowing down to the inspired affordable version. A Bloomberg report on the other hand foils the excitement indicating the AirPods to share some design cues but not the audio features of the AirPods Pro.

We do expect active noise cancellation to trickle down to the affordable Apple earbuds but it's hard to be certain. What's likely is that AirPods 3 could integrate sensors to enable spatial audio. Spatial audio is Apple's alternative to Dolby Atmos and requires gyroscope and accelerometer to be built into the accessory supporting it. It's already found takers with the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max and will definitely make a difference to the sales figures of the AirPods 3.

In another hearsay, Apple AirPods 3 are said to include motion sensors that will allow some sort of fitness tracking and health monitoring. Apple has a bent for integrating fitness and health features into its wearables and AirPods 3 could be next in line to receive the upgrade. There is no real clarity on what these sensors would do but the possibility of motion sensors being embedded in the upcoming AirPods is established by Bloomberg.

Final thoughts

From the above information, we can assume to an extent how the AirPods 3 could turn up when they are released. Though an official release date still remains unconfirmed, rumors have it that the third-gen AirPods could launch in Q3 of 2021.

This time frame means, the AirPods 3 would likely launch alongside the iPhone 13 at Apple's upcoming launch event. Speculatively, the earbuds will be along the affordable lines and start at around $150. The possibility of a higher price tag cannot be ruled out if the premium features like spatial audio, ANC and motion sensors for fitness tracking are employed.