Last year, Apple silently launched its first-ever over-the-ear, noise-cancelling headphones called the AirPods Max. The headphones are best in class, both in sound and quality except for the fact that they are priced at an exuberant price of $549.
Since AirPods Max is beyond what most people would spend on wireless headphones, everyone’s eyes are now set on AirPods 3 launch or the AirPods 2 Pro launch, whichever comes first.
Here is everything you need to know about the AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 Pro features, price, and release date.
AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro Lite?
A report from DigiTimes back in February last year claimed that Apple will be launching AirPods Pro Lite by the end of 2020. However, as we all know, that didn’t happen thanks to COVID-19 that derailed all tech companies’ launch schedules.
Since then, the name AirPods Lite has come up in multiple reports. One is from TheElec who also referred to the upcoming AirPods as AirPods Pro Lite.
AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 Pro Release Date
Multiple AirPods 3 leaks and rumours indicate that the next AirPods will be launching in the first half of 2021.
According to a tweet from LeaksApplePro, Apple might keep its AirPods 3 launch on March 21. All other reports from Bloomberg, DigiTimes, and other sources have said that AirPods will in fact be coming in 2021 first half.
Meanwhile, the AirPods 2 Pro launch is due for a much later date, probably for late Q4 2021 or for Q1 2022 according to LeaksApplePro. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also said that AirPods 2 Pro won’t go into production until Q4 2021.
However, a report from Chinese supply chain Macotakara says that AirPods 2 Pro is set for release on April 2021, along with the iPhone SE. Another January report from DigiTimes has said that the AirPods Pro 2 will launch in the first half of 2021.
AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 Pro Expected Features
There is not a lot of information on AirPods 2 Pro design, apart from Bloomberg’s report which claims that AirPods 2 Pro will have a new compact design that won’t feature a stem. The current prototype follows the design of the Galaxy Buds Live.
As for AirPods 3, nearly every AirPods 3 leak claims that there will be a design change. However, it won’t be entirely out of the box. The report from TheElec suggests that AirPods 3 will adopt the AirPods Pro design. So, the AirPods 3 will have a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.
Kuo has also backed up this claim and said that the AirPods 3 design will be “similar to AirPods Pro,” The original AirPods design is preferred by many, including me, so I certainly won’t be happy if Apple decides to drop it.
New leaked images from 52Audio give us the first glimpse of AirPods 3. In the images, we see AirPods 3 featuring a similar AirPods Pro design but with a shorter stem. The charging case appears to be less rectangular than the one that comes with the AirPods Pro.
Apart from that, the 52Audio report claims that the new AirPods 3 will have several of the AirPods Pro features such as the pressure-relieving system, touch control surface on each bud, and five hours of continuous audio playback.
According to Kuo, AirPods 3 will adopt the same system-in-package (SiP) used in AirPods Pro. TheElec said that the SiP used for the H1 chip in the upcoming AirPods will be “a simple square shape” instead of the SiP used for the H1 chip in the AirPods Pro which is “round shaped like a mouse.”
While the AirPods 3 might look like the current AirPods Pro, TheElec notes that AirPods 3 won’t have noise cancellation like its Pro sibling.
It’s very likely that the AirPods 3 also won’t have water resistance or the IPX4 certification. However, things like Spatial audio and Dolby Atmos will likely be present on it. A DigiTimes report suggests next-gen AirPods will have sensors to monitor heart rate and other health conditions. 52Audio claims that Spartial Audio support is “highly” probable for the next-gen AirPods.
The AirPods 2 Pro, on the other hand, might come with ambient light sensors, according to a report from LeaksApplePro. The report also states that AirPods Pro 2nd Gen will have better noise cancellation and improved battery life.
Since not much is known about AirPods 2 Pro, there are rumors of it having sensors to recognize in-air gestures. According to one DigiTimes report, the 2nd gen AirPods Pro might have biometrics.
The report from Macotakara claims that AirPods 2 Pro will feature a “new design for the charging case.” The case will be a little taller and wider compared to the current one.
There is not much talk on the battery of AirPods 3. It’s clear that people are not satisfied with the 5 hours of battery backup on a single charge. Apple might bring some battery improvements, however, that’s just our speculation.
AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 Pro Price
TheElec’s report said, “the Lite version will be priced 20% cheaper than the normal Airpods Pro“. This puts the lite version price in the price category of the current second-gen AirPods, bringing the possibility of replacing them entirely. Kuo has also said that AirPods Pro Lite would replace the current AirPods.
In other words, AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro Lite, whatever Apple calls them, might be priced at $199. It’s a $50 jump from the $150 launch price of last-gen AirPods.
Hopefully, the price jump is worth the new features that will accompany the AirPods third-gen. As for the AirPods 2 Pro, again there isn’t much information on its pricing. If AirPods 2 Pro legit has a design overhaul, we might see a small jump in the price tag.
AirPods 3 and AirPods 2 Pro leaks: Conclusion
- The next Apple AirPods launch is in the first half of 2021
- AirPods 3 will most likely be called Apple AirPods Pro Lite
- Upcoming AirPods will look similar to the current AirPods Pro
- AirPods 3 won’t have noise cancellation or other high-end features of AirPods Pro
- AirPods 2 Pro will probably launch in 2022