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AirPods 3 price, release date, and features announced

Published Oct 18th, 2021 5:50PM EDT
AirPods 3
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple today officially announced AirPods 3, the next-gen iteration of the company’s popular wireless earbuds. While there was hope earlier in the year that we’d see Apple unveil AirPods 3 at its iPhone 13 event last September, that of course didn’t come to pass. Instead, Apple decided to wait a bit and, I think it’s fair to say, it was certainly worth the wait.

AirPods 3 is an incredibly compelling upgrade from all angles. Indeed, AirPods 3 borrows quite a few design elements from Apple’s AirPods Pro. For starters, spatial audio is finally coming to Apple’s entry-level AirPods.

AirPods 3 Brand new features

The most obvious AirPods 3 feature is its new look. As initially rumored, AirPods 3 boasts a more compact form factor. In other words, the longer stem that defined the previous AirPods designs is no more.

Additionally, AirPods 3 will deliver improved audio performance and more robust water and sweat resistance. Apple notes that AirPods 3, along with the charging case, have an IPX4 rating.

With respect to audio performance, AirPods 3 has a brand new custom distortion driver for more powerful bass, clean high frequencies, and a new contour design for better acoustics.

“By combining the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system,” Apple writes, “the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ.”

“The microphone is covered by an acoustic mesh to help reduce the sound of wind, so the speaker’s voice comes across distinctly on calls,” Apple adds. “AirPods also feature AAC-ELD, a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality, providing clear, natural communication for FaceTime calls.”

Apple boasts that Adaptive EQ will adjust sounds in real-time based on how the AirPod itself fits into a user’s ear.

“An inward-facing microphone monitors for sound, and then Adaptive EQ, powered by computational audio, tunes the low and mid frequencies to account for what may be lost due to variances in fit,” Apple writes.

Image source: Apple Inc.

AirPods 3 also boasts tremendous battery life with 6 hours of listening time. What’s more, 5 minutes of charging time will net you 1 hour of use.

Other features include MagSafe charging, one-step setup, brand new Force sensor controls, support for the Find My network, and again, support for spatial audio.

AirPods 3 Pricing

The brand new AirPods 3 will start at $179. Pre-orders start today and the product will be available next week. Meanwhile, the second-gen AirPods will now be available at $129. You can check out Apple’s order page over here.

Also, AirPods Pro will now come with a MagSafe Charging Case. Apple also makes a point of noting that if you haven’t tried Apple Music before, you can try a six-month trial for free if you purchase AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.

Apple’s headphones lineup now looks like this.

Image source: Apple Inc.

As a final point, the main differentiator between AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro is support for noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro MagSafe Updated

A little tidbit that we have discovered from Apple’s updated online store is that the popular AirPods Pro are also now available with MagSafe charging case.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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