AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro: All the upgrades we expect to see


The AirPods 3 might have a brand new design that resembles the AirPods Professional.

Angela Lang/CNET

Replace, Oct. 18: Apple hosted its fourth launch event of 2021 at this time. Here’s everything announced. We obtained a primary take a look at the AirPods 3rd-gen, in addition to the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Plus, Apple unveiled new colors for the HomePod Mini and an Apple Music ‘Voice’ plan. Authentic story follows.

Apple’s September event got here and went, and Apple’s rumored AirPods 3 have been nonetheless nowhere to be discovered. Nonetheless, there’s an opportunity we would see new AirPods coming later this yr, perhaps as quickly because the tech big’s October event at this time. (Here is how one can watch Apple’s “Unleashed” event live on Oct. 18 and what we expect to see.) Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has observe file with regards to reporting on unreleased Apple merchandise, says he expects new AirPods and MacBook Pros to reach by the top of 2021. 

If the rumors show true, the new AirPods will likely be much more just like the high-end AirPods Pro. Prone to be referred to as the AirPods 3, Apple’s subsequent true wi-fi earbuds might characteristic a brand new design with shorter stems, interchangeable ear ideas, a brand new Apple chip and a smaller charging case.

That would make deciding between the usual AirPods and AirPods Pro all of the tougher. There is no approach to actually know what to anticipate from the AirPods 3 till Apple unveils them. And we additionally do not know whether or not they’ll be priced the identical as the present entry-level AirPods. However here is a take a look at how they may examine to the AirPods Professional primarily based on the reviews, leaks and rumors up to now.

AirPods 3 (rumored) vs. AirPods Professional

AirPods 3 (rumored) AirPods Professional
Launch value (US) $159 $249
Processor Subsequent-gen Apple chip Apple H1
Match Customizable Customizable
Lively noise cancellation No Sure
Water resistance No Sure

Design: The AirPods 3 might seem like the AirPods Professional, however with some slight variations

Among the many largest adjustments reportedly coming to the AirPods 3 is a revamped design that extra carefully resembles that of the AirPods Professional. Final yr, Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (through MacRumors) each reported that Apple’s entry-level AirPods will acquire a brand new look with shorter stems and replaceable ear ideas. Since then, we have additionally seen a few leaks indicating the identical. 

Chinese language audio weblog 52 Audio posted a photograph in February claiming to point out what the AirPods 3 seem like. Twitter account Leaks Apple Pro additionally posted a photograph in March that many have speculated might be the AirPods 3.

Learn extra: Ultimate T-Mobile iPhone 13 Pro Max hack could get you Apple’s highest-end phone for free

In each photographs, you may discover that the earbuds have considerably shorter stems very similar to the AirPods Professional. Though they appear much more just like the Professionals, the photographs counsel there’ll nonetheless be some visible variations between each fashions. 


This picture from 52audio claims to point out what the AirPods 3 seem like.


The stems should still be barely longer on the AirPods 3 in comparison with the Professionals, and the earbuds themselves additionally do not look as slender because the Professionals. Not one of the photographs present the ear ideas that the AirPods 3 are anticipated to ship with both. The supposed case for the AirPods 3 proven within the photographs additionally seems to be like a barely taller model of the AirPods Professional charging case.

The AirPods 3 are additionally anticipated to return with changeable ear ideas for a extra customizable match, in response to Bloomberg. If that is true, then we are able to probably count on Apple to incorporate three ear tip sizes within the field and an ear tip match take a look at in the course of the setup course of, identical to the AirPods Professional. 

Kuo supplied one other clue indicating that the AirPods 3 can have an AirPods Professional-like design. In a analysis observe reported by Apple Insider, he talked about the AirPods 3 will use the identical system-in-package design because the AirPods Professional, which Apple says contributes to the earbuds’ measurement and efficiency. That would imply Apple is making an attempt to squeeze the AirPods 3’s parts right into a sleeker construct just like the Professional. However we have not heard whether or not the AirPods 3 will acquire water resistance just like the Professionals.

All informed, the AirPods 3 seem like a cross between the second-generation commonplace AirPods and the AirPods Professional when it comes to design.

Learn extra: Apple’s AirPods 3 could be coming soon, and there are a few upgrades I’m hoping for

Audio: Lively noise cancellation will nonetheless probably be unique to the AirPods Professional

Sure, the AirPods 3 will look much more just like the AirPods Professional. However will they sound extra like them? That reply is much less clear, however what appears sure is that the AirPods 3 will not embody energetic noise cancellation, in response to Bloomberg. 

Nonetheless, the 52 Audio report does trace that one other premium audio characteristic may trickle all the way down to the AirPods 3: spatial audio. This characteristic creates a encompass sound impact that tracks the motion of your head when watching supported films and TV exhibits, nevertheless it’s solely at present out there on the AirPods Professional and AirPods Max. 

In any other case, we have not heard a lot about whether or not the AirPods 3 will get any significant audio upgrades that deliver them nearer to the AirPods Professional. But when their new design ends in a greater match, it is affordable to count on that the AirPods 3 will sound higher too.

Efficiency: The AirPods 3 might have a more moderen chip and longer battery life in comparison with the AirPods Professional

Apple is anticipated to introduce a brand new model of its wi-fi chip within the AirPods 3, in response to Bloomberg. Apple’s next-generation AirPods Professional may also reportedly have this chip, however these headphones aren’t anticipated to launch till 2022, Bloomberg additionally reported. 

There are not any particulars concerning the forms of upgrades this chip might deliver. But when the leap between Apple’s W1 and H1 chip is any indication, we may even see sooner connection speeds. The H1 chip additionally launched hands-free Siri assist to Apple’s second-generation AirPods, so there’s an opportunity we’ll see different new options within the AirPods 3 as nicely.

The AirPods 3 might also get some battery life enhancements, probably placing them forward of the AirPods Professional. Bloomberg’s report from 2020 mentions that Apple is “seeking to enhance” battery life with the AirPods 3, though it did not share any further particulars. Nevertheless it’s attainable that the AirPods 3’s new chip might result in higher effectivity general, leading to longer battery life.

The present AirPods and AirPods Professional supply comparable battery life. Each are estimated to supply as much as 5 hours of listening time in response to Apple, however utilizing energetic noise cancellation and transparency mode brings the Professional’s battery life down by about half an hour. 

Worth: The AirPods 3 will in all probability nonetheless be cheaper than the AirPods Professional

For the reason that AirPods 3 are supposed to succeed Apple’s commonplace AirPods, it is virtually sure that they will be cheaper than the AirPods Professional. Apple sells its second-generation AirPods for $159, though yow will discover them for just below $120 on Amazon. Equally, the AirPods Professional price $249 by Apple and promote for $190 on Amazon.

The larger query is whether or not the AirPods 3 will price greater than the second-generation AirPods. We can’t know till Apple makes the announcement, nevertheless it’s a chance if the AirPods 3 have an up to date design and sooner chip. 

Total, the AirPods 3 appear to be they’re going to deliver Apple’s earbuds up to the mark in two areas that matter most: consolation and efficiency. However you may nonetheless probably nonetheless should splurge on the AirPods Professional to get higher audio high quality and energetic noise cancellation. | AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Professional: All of the upgrades we count on to see


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