Even though Apple just refreshed AirPods back in March, the company is likely still working on a third-generation version of its massively popular Bluetooth headphones. While the second-generation AirPods were an incremental upgrade, the so-called AirPods 3 are likely to have a slew of new features and other updates — and may even drop sometime this year. Continue reading to learn everything we know about AirPods 3 so far.
An "All-New Design"
Back in December 2018, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that AirPods 3 would come in an “all-new design.” The analyst did not, however, offer any additional details about what that could mean.
Based on complaints about the current AirPods, Apple could choose to add in some sort of adjustability for differently sized ear canals — something current AirPods lack. While that normally means interchangeable ear tips, Apple may have its own novel solution.
AirPods are meant to go where you go, from walks in the rain to long workouts in the sun. But current AirPods don’t have any sort of water resistance rating, meaning that they could be prone to damage if you actually go get water or sweat on them. That could change this year.
Water-resistance is one of the most likely features on the table for AirPods 3, based on the number of rumors suggesting that Apple will add it to its headphones. It isn’t clear what IP rating the new devices could have, but they’re more likely to be sweatproof than swim-rated.
New Colors and Coating
In addition to the previously mentioned “all-new design,” Apple may also give the AirPods some other aesthetic and physical upgrades. According to several past reports, that could include new color options and a new finish.
Back in February, Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported that a future version of AirPods could come in a new black color option (although other colors weren’t mentioned, they could be a possibility). EDN also suggests that AirPods 3 would be produced with a new “grippier” surface coating, which may make it better-suited for workouts.
AirPods have excellent sound quality, but they lack any sort of noise cancelation. That means that you can’t really drown out loud ambient nosies unless you’re listening to music at an unhealthy volume. But not to worry, noise cancelation may very well be on the docket for AirPods 3.
Bloomberg and other sources have reported that AirPods 3 will sport some sort of noise cancelation technology. It isn’t clear whether it’ll feature physical analogue cancelation or active noise cancelation, as there have been rumors suggesting both. Another report suggests that the noise-canceling AirPods 3 would be more expensive, but could be sold alongside “standard” AirPods.
Apple has an active interest in healthcare, if its wellness endeavors and Apple Watch updates are any indication. And while there isn’t any firm reports suggesting that Apple could add AirPods to its health-centered lineup, there are quite a few rumors indicating that this could be the case for AirPods 3.
Throughout 2017, Apple filed a slew of patents related to biometric and health sensors that could be embedded in an earbud. That includes sensors that could read your heart rate, as well as the ambient temperature around you and even the levels of certain types of chemicals in the surrounding air.
Most of the features we mentioned were originally slated for a so-called AirPods 2 release this year. But Apple has already released an incremental update to AirPods, which many are calling “AirPods 2.” Because of that, a release date for AirPods 3 is less clear.
Originally, AirPods 3 were slated for a release earlier this year. But Bloomberg has since indicated that they could launch in 2020. It’s worth noting that other reports, including a recent investors’ note penned by analyst Daniel Ives, suggest that AirPods 3 could see a release this year in time for the busy holiday shopping season.