Apple today released the first beta of iOS 13.2. It may have also inadvertently leaked what the next generation of AirPods will look like.
The first iOS 13.2 beta contains an icon that seemingly depicts an unreleased version of AirPods with rubber ear tips. That’s, of course, not a feature on current versions of the wireless earphones.
That icon was buried in an Accessibility settings folder, which could suggest that the next generation will have some type of new accessibility feature. It also includes preferences to an internal codename of B298.
Those images, which were apparently sourced from within Apple’s supply chain, supposedly depict “AirPods 3” or “third-generation AirPods” with an all-new design.
The apparent AirPods 3 pretty clearly show off a design that’s meant to sport rubber ear tips (even if there are not ear-tips on the actual models in the picture).
Not everyone is a fan of headphones with rubber ear tips, but they could be a boon for some users. For one, rubber ear tips are a first step toward some type of noise cancellation — or, at the very least, they offer better noise isolation.
AirPods in their current design also don’t support every ear shape or size out there. There are plenty of people who aren’t able to wear AirPods because they won’t fit. Interchangeable ear tips could help solve this problem.
AirPods 3 Release Date?
As far as when they’ll arrive, no one can be sure. Previously, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that a new generation of AirPods with “an all-new design” would drop sometime between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.
Those AirPods, in addition to sporting rubberized ear tips, could also feature Active Noise Cancelation, higher levels of water-resistance, new color options and finishes, and other features. Kuo does note that they’ll likely be more expensive than current AirPods.
If you’re a fan of the current AirPods, don’t worry. They probably aren’t going anywhere. Kuo theorizes that the new AirPods would be offered alongside current second-generation AirPods, likely as an additional option and perhaps as an “AirPods Pro” variant.
Interestingly, Kuo also notes that Apple may release another generation of more “normal” AirPods alongside the new variant that would have the same price and design as second-generation AirPods. That would be unusual, since second-gen AirPods were released earlier this year.