Image Credit: Apple

Apple announce the third generation AirPods (non-Pro) with spatial audio, Adaptive EQ, sweat and water resistance, and more for $179.

Apple launched the third generation of “the world’s most popular wireless headphones” at yesterday’s Unleashed event, as well as new HomePod colours and updates to the MacBook Pros. Boasting spatial audio, improved sound with Adaptive EQ, longer battery life, sweat and water resistance, and an all-new design, AirPods 3rd generation offer an almost complete package, minus active noise cancellation for $179. Replacing the second generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, the new AirPods will sit alongside the cheaper second generation AirPods with the Wired Charging Case, the more expensive AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation and the over-ear AirPods Max.

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, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Apple
Image Credit: Apple

All-New Design

The most noticeable difference on appearance is the new contoured design. AirPods third generation take on an AirPods Pro-like design, without the in-ear tips. While the lack of in-ear tips won’t provide the same amount of isolation as AirPods Pro, the new AirPods’ design and lightweight feel should ensure a comfortable fit, with audio directed into the ear. The AirPods also borrow the same shorter stems with force sensors for easy and intuitive controls of media and phone calls. Like the AirPods Pro, the new AirPods are also sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating on the earbuds and charging case.

Breakthrough Audio Features

Thanks to the H1 chip and Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods should produce powerful bass with crisp and clean high frequencies, from a custom driver and a high dynamic range amplifier. The microphones in each bud are covered by an acoustic mesh to reduce the sound of wind for clear and natural voice calls, while an AAC-ELD speech codec will ensure full HD voice quality over FaceTime.

Video Credit: Apple

Computational audio brings breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ to the new earbuds. As on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Adaptive EQ tunes the sound in real time based on how the AirPods fit the unique listener’s ears. Using inward-facing microphones, sound is constantly monitored and tuned so no low and mid frequencies are lost due to a poor fit.

Apple are also bringing spatial audio with Dolby Atmos to the updated AirPods. As on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking gives listeners an immersive three-dimensional theatre-like experience beyond traditional stereo sound on Apple Music, movies, TV shows and even Group FaceTime calls. Using advanced spatial audio algorithms and directional audio filters, AirPods are able to place sound all around the user, virtually anywhere in space by subtly adjusting the frequencies that each ear receives.

Sound coming from all around the AirPods wearer
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Magical Experience

As has been the case with all AirPods, the new generation work seamlessly with Apple devices, with one-touch setup automatically pairing AirPods across all of your Apple devices, and Audio Sharing letting listeners share streams between two sets of AirPods or Beats on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. New skin-detect sensors can tell whether the AirPods are in the ear, a pocket or on a table to pause playback when removed.

Hand-free Siri is always ready for your requests. Beamforming microphones block out ambient noise and focus on your voice to clearly pick up “Hey Siri” when you need to control music or ask questions.

Longer Battery Life

The third generation AirPods add an extra hour of battery life over previous AirPods and even the AirPods Pro with ANC turned off. The new AirPods provide up to an impressive six hours of listening time, five hours with spatial audio enabled, and up to four hours of talk time. The charging case provides four additional charges for a total of up to 30 hours of listening time. Pop the earbuds in the case for just five minutes for about an hour of battery life. The charging case now features MagSafe for convenient wireless charging. AirPods Pro have also quietly been refreshed with a MagSafe Charging Case for the same $249 price.

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AirPods with iOS and iPadOS

Rolled out last month, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 give the new AirPods more exciting new features such as spatial audio and dynamic head tracking for Group FaceTime calls. This separates voices in virtual space so they sound like they’re coming from the direction they are places on the screen. Announced Notifications has Siri read out important time-sensitive notifications, so you can hear alerts from Messages, Reminders, Calendar and calls, as well as third-party apps that adopt the API. Find My brings AirTag-like features to the AirPods, with proximity view, Lost Mode, and separation alerts and sounds from the app.

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Pricing and Availability

You can pre-order the new AirPods online today for $179. They will be in stores from Tuesday 26th October in the US and 26 other countries and regions. Apple offers optional free personal engravings if you want to add emoji, text and numbers to the case. All new AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max purchases come with six months of Apple Music for free, for new subscribers. For a cheaper Apple Music experience, see their new Voice Plan for just $4.99 per month.

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Apple’s second generation AirPods with the wired Charging Case now starts at $129 on or $119 on Amazon. Amazon also have discounts across the rest of the AirPods line, with the second generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case at $129, AirPods Pro at $197 and AirPods Max from $449.

Image Credit: Apple