Leaked AirPods 3 images reveal in-ear design and shorter stem
Late last month, we reported that Apple's next-generation true wireless earphones (AirPods 3) could be launched by mid-2021. On Saturday, Chinese website 52audio leaked an image and some CAD renders showing off the earphones and the charging case. The report goes on to cite unverified sources which claim the product will be launched on March 16, alongside an iPad Pro featuring a MiniLED display.
AirPods 3's design draws inspiration from current-gen AirPods Pro
Visually, the design of the AirPods 3 resembles the current generation AirPods Pro. The AirPods 3 will feature a half-in ear design with replaceable silicone eartips to provide a secure fit and better noise isolation than the first-gen AirPods. The AirPods 3 appears to have a more bulbous design and a shorter stem than the AirPods Pro.
Product will have Spatial Sound but will lack Transparency Mode
The leaked images reveal the signature black pressure-sensitive touch input area, as well as the bass port previously seen on the AirPods Pro. The AirPods 3 will support Spatial Audio, Apple's version of surround sound which relies on head tracking. However, the product will lack Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency mode offered on the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max headphones.
Case likely to be wireless charging-compatible; MagSafe integration uncertain
Comparing the charging cases of the current-gen AirPods Pro and the AirPods 3, the latter is reportedly 1 mm taller and 6 mm narrower than the former. Both cases are 21 mm thick. Previous reports suggested that Apple could make the AirPods 3 case MagSafe compatible. However, the latest 52audio report doesn't mention MagSafe compatibility; it just says the case will support wireless charging.
AirPods 3 could be priced lower than AirPods Pro
The changes in design and feature set position the AirPods 3 as mid-range Apple earphones. The 52audio report speculates that the product will be priced at around $150. The launch is rumored to be on March 16. However, the price and launch date speculation should be taken with a pinch of salt, as contradictory reports have also been observed.