CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA — Apple today confirmed weeks of speculation by unveiling the third generation of AirPods featuring a new design, along with spatial audio.
By combining the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver premium sound with Adaptive EQ. Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices. The new AirPods are said to be resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy control of music and phone calls.
The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time1 and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the portable charging case. AirPods (3rd generation) join the world’s most popular family of headphones and are available to order starting today, and in stores beginning Tuesday, October 26th.
“AirPods forever changed wireless headphones with their groundbreaking design, incredible sound, and magical experience. We are excited to introduce the next generation of AirPods, featuring unrivaled sound through Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, along with seamless interaction between Apple devices — making the world’s best-selling headphones even better.”
–Greg Joswiak, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing
AirPods 3: All New Design
The new design of AirPods is lightweight and contoured, “sitting at just the right angle for comfort and to direct audio into the ear”. For a more subtle appearance, the stem is shorter than the previous generation and features the same intuitive force sensor as AirPods Pro for media control.
The latest generation of AirPods are resistant to both sweat and water, with an IPX4 rating for both the earbuds and the charging case.2
Breakthrough Audio Features
The new AirPods are said to be built with a custom driver and a high dynamic range amplifier that “together produce powerful bass with crisp, clean high frequencies”.
The microphone is covered by an acoustic mesh to help reduce the sound of wind, so the speaker’s voice comes across distinctly on calls. AirPods also feature AAC-ELD, a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality.
The new AirPods use computational audio to bring features previously only found on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max — like Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking.
For an optimal listening experience, the new AirPods feature Adaptive EQ that tunes sound in real time based on how AirPods fit in the user’s ear.
An inward-facing microphone monitors for sound, and then Adaptive EQ, powered by computational audio, tunes the low and mid frequencies to account for what may be lost due to variances in fit.
Spatial audio “creates a three-dimensional theater-like experience, placing sound virtually anywhere in space, and with Dolby Atmos.” Users can also enjoy this multi-level experience with dynamic head tracking, so music, video, and even Group FaceTime calls feel more immersive.
With one-touch setup that automatically pairs AirPods with other Apple devices, users can effortlessly enjoy music throughout the day. Audio Sharing allows listeners to share the audio stream between two sets of AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, while using iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV.
A new skin-detect sensor accurately discerns if AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when removed.
To help with sound clarity, beamforming microphones block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice, while users can also enjoy a hands-free experience by simply saying “Hey Siri” for requests.
Longer Battery Life
AirPods 3 offer an extra hour of battery life over the previous generations, with up to six hours of listening time and up to four hours of talk time.
Just five minutes of charging provides about an hour of battery life, and with four additional charges in the case, users can get up to 30 hours of total listening time.3
AirPods are now also part of the MagSafe ecosystem for easy wireless charging.
AirPods with iOS and iPadOS
According to Apple, with the latest AirPods and with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, users can enjoy the following features:
- With spatial audio and dynamic head tracking, voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the person is positioned on the screen, making it seem as if everyone is in the same room.4
- Announce Notifications allows Siri to read important time-sensitive notifications, including alerts from Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and calls, as well as any third-party apps that adopt the API.
- AirPods are now part of the Find My network of hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers around the world, offering proximity view in the Find My app and Lost Mode, as well as separation alerts and sounds.
AirPods 3 Pricing and Availability
AirPods 3 will be available for $179 (US) and are available to order from apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 26 other countries and regions starting today, with availability in stores beginning Tuesday, October 26.
- AirPods (2nd generation) will be available at the new price of $129 (US).
- AirPods Pro now come with MagSafe Charging Case for the same price of $249 (US).
- AirPods require Apple devices running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, or macOS Monterey, all available as free software updates next week.
For more details, visit Apple’s website.