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New leak claims to show what Apple’s AirPods 3 will look like

Published Feb 22nd, 2021 10:33AM EST
AirPods 3 Release
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • A new photo claims to show what Apple’s next-gen AirPods are going to look like.
  • The new design features a shorter stem and looks similar to Apple’s AirPods Pro design.
  • AirPods 3 will include improved audio performance, better battery life, and more sizing options. Noise cancellation will likely remain exclusive to the AirPods Pro.

A new image that leaked online over the weekend purports to show us what Apple’s next-gen pair of AirPods are going to look like. Originally shared by 52audio, the image seemingly corroborates some previous rumors we’ve seen about Apple’s third-gen AirPods, namely that they’re going to borrow a few design elements from Apple’s AirPods Pro.

As evidenced from the photo below, Apple’s new AirPods will boast a shorter stem than the first two generations and will ship with silicone ear tips. The charging case is also shorter and wider and closely resembles the case from the AirPods Pro. These design shifts, however, are where the similarities between Apple’s AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro end. As a means of differentiation, and to keep the price point low, Apple’s third-gen AirPods will reportedly not include the noise cancellation feature Apple introduced on its Pro line.

52audio doesn’t have a perfect track record when it comes to Apple rumors, so you’ll of course want to take this photo with a grain of salt. Still, with credible reports indicating that new AirPods are slated to arrive later this year, there’s a strong possibility that the photo below is legitimate.

Image source: 52Audio

Additionally, you might recall that Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who undeniably has an unrivaled track record with respect to Apple rumors, issued an investor note back in June claiming that Apple’s third-gen AirPods will launch in early 2021 with a new design, improved audio performance, more sizing options, and slightly better water and sweat resistance.

A more recent report from Bloomberg relays that Apple’s AirPods 3 will feature improved battery life and might be powered by a new wireless chip.

Image source: 52Audio

There are also rumblings that Apple is hard at work on a next-gen AirPods Pro design, with Bloomberg noting:

For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom. A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user’s a ear — similar to the latest designs from Samsung Electronics Co., Inc. and Google.”

Integrating noise-cancellation, wireless antennas and microphones into a smaller AirPods Pro casing has proved challenging during development, which could result in a less ambitious design when the product is finalized, the people said. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

With rumors pointing towards an early-mid 2021 launch, a report from last week claimed that Apple was planning on holding a special media event on March 16 to introduce new iPad models and the oft-delayed AirTags. Mark Gurman has intimated that the event has either been canceled or rescheduled, so it remains to be seen if Apple’s new AirPods will be unveiled in March or perhaps announced via a press release sometime later in the year.

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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