At its “Unleashed” event today, Apple announced the highly-anticipated budget-centric third-generation AirPods. The product features a revised yet tried and true design sans silicone ear tips. A few features have also been axed to cut costs.
The highlight of the new AirPods is the attractive, cheaper price point making it more accessible to the masses. However, Apple has made some changes to make this feasible:
- No Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
- No silicon ear tips
As for the feature enhancements and design changes, AirPods 3 has these features:
- The stem appears shorter than the second-generation AirPods
- Apple H1 chip
- Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos enabling 3D listening
- Force sensor in the stem to control music and audio
- New drivers for lower distortion
- IPX4 Sweat and water resistance for both buds and charging case
- Adaptive EQ from the AirPods Pro
- One-touch Pairing
- Longer battery life with total of 30 hours of listening time
- MagSafe-based wireless charging support
Apple claimed that the AirPods 3 has been redesigned completely. The new design incorporates a force sensor in the now-shorter stem enabling call and music playback controls using a squeeze gesture system. The Cupertino giant claimed that this along with the AAC-ELD speech codec would also deliver improvements in the quality of FaceTime calls. The Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos support would directly impact the experience too, although Atmos is only supported on Apple Music.
As for convenience features, you’ll now be able to locate your AirPods 3 using the Find My network. Convenience also improves with the improved battery life on the AirPods 3. Apple claims the Pods will be able to deliver an hour of playback with just five minutes of charging and a total battery life of six hours. The AirPods 3 can be recharged using MagSafe and wireless charging and on a single charge, the case can recharge the AirPods four times over. Another minor new convenience feature allows you to announce notifications with Siri voice assistant.
In the sound department, Apple did cut corners to bring the price down to $179. ANC is gone, but all is not lost. Apple claims to have incorporated a completely redesigned low-distortion audio driver into the AirPods 3. Silicon ear tips are gone and this could be a deal-breaker for some since passive noise isolation could be worse unless Apple’s redesign accounted for this. However, Adaptive EQ has been taken from the AirPods Pro and thrown into the mix for the computational audio experience we have come to expect from Apple’s premium products.
The third-generation AirPods will be available for pre-order starting today with a sticker price of $179. Apple claims the product will ship on October 25. Retail availability is set to begin on October 26. Free custom engraving on the case will also be available.