Apple has done it again. After reinventing the MP3 player, the mobile, and the music download, the tech giant is now leading the charge in the ever-growing wireless earphone market with the AirPod.
Initially criticised for their price and familiar design, AirPods have become nothing less than a cultural phenomenon, going viral online as well as becoming a status symbol to show off on the many Houseparty and Zoom calls.
So with quite the reputation to live up to, what exactly can we expect from the next generation of AirPods? Quite a lot, it may seem!
For a matching Apple device see our best iPhone 11 deals and best Apple Watch deals ahead of Black Friday and Prime Day.
When are the AirPods 3 released?
Bad news – despite the launch of the iPhone 12 and the Apple Watch Series 6 later in 2020, it does not seem like the next generation of AirPods will be joining them. Apple is set to launch several devices at their ‘Time Flies’ event including the Apple Watch SE, iPad 8 and iPad Air 4 – but there’s no evidence any new AirPods will be joining them.
Instead, DigiTimes has reported that Apple’s supply chain suggests that the AirPods 3 won’t be going into production until early 2021.
This would make sense – the second-generation AirPods are only a year-and-a-half old, while the original AirPods were on the market for well over 2 years.
What features will the AirPods 3 have?
The new AirPods are actually thought to be similar in design to the current AirPods Pro – smaller overall than the AirPods 2, with shorter ear stems.
This won’t stop it packing in plenty of features, however, with a supposed focus on fitness much like the capabilities on the Apple Watches. This includes ambient light sensors that can monitor heart rate, pulse rate, and even blood oxygen levels. An inbuilt accelerometer will also mean the AirPods could communicate movement to your phone, allowing for audio feedback on exercises such as yoga.
Another clever feature is that the new AirPods will be able to lower the volume or pause music if a hazard is detected – for example, it may stop audio playback in an ear close to a busy road.
It may well port some of the AirPod Pro’s features, such as active noise cancellation, improved sound quality, and an adaptive EQ.
There’s also rumours that the new AirPods will use a U1 Ultra Wideband sensor much like the upcoming Apple AirTags, which will enable them to be tracked with great precision – basically, they might never get lost again.
Lastly, one out-there – but possible – rumour is the use of bone conduction technology, which sends audio through the bones in your skull for a better aural experience. Ambitious perhaps, but this is Apple…
How much will the AirPods 3 cost?
There’s little word on the AirPod 3’s cost, but is highly likely to launch at a similar price to the current AirPod 2: £159 with a normal charging case and £199 with a wireless charging case.
Will there be a new AirPods Pro?
The newest member of Apple’s wireless earbud family, the AirPods Pro only came out in November 2019, so an AirPods Pro 2 isn’t expected until late 2021.
However, Apple is rumoured to be working on a cheaper variant called the AirPods Pro Lite – which may well launch this year along with the iPhone 12.
Should I wait for the AirPods 3?
There’s still plenty of time until early 2021 when the new AirPods are set to launch, should you wish to buy the current AirPods now:
AirPods still have plenty to boast about, including fast pairing, low latency and Siri voice control. It may also be worth waiting for Black Friday – Apple AirPods were one of the hottest products last year, seeing discounts of £30 at some retailers.