Apple AirPods 3 were announced at the Apple Event on October 18, but rumours of their arrival have been a heavy feature of 2021, meaning we've been anticipating them for months. The launch today gives Apple just enough time to release them before Christmas. The AirPods 3 are available for pre-order now, with availability both in-store and delivery from Tuesday, October 26th.
The headline AirPods 3 features are a new design that follows the lead of AirPods Pro, improved sound, better battery and support for Apple's 3D Spatial Audio features.
Apple’s original AirPods really kickstarted the craze for true wireless earbuds, and the second-generation version added smart new features beyond the sound that have become common elsewhere. But times have moved on since then, and it's high time for an AirPods shake-up.
Below is a round-up of everything we know, with the latest news about the AirPods 3 release date, price, specs and features.
AirPods 3 release date
We'll hold our hands up here. We, like almost everyone, felt sure that the AirPods 3 would launch along with the new iPhone. It made perfect sense. Of course, it's possible that they were supposed to – lots of product launches have been delayed and generally disrupted by the events of the last two years.
But we finally got the news we were waiting for at Apple's 'Unleashed' live stream alongside new MacBook Pros. Rather than making us wait until Friday, the pre-orders for the AirPods 3 opened straight after the event, with availability in-stores from Tuesday, October 26.
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Apple AirPods 3 price
The new model is priced $179/£169/AU$279. This is a $50 increase on the AirPods 2nd generation but $70 less than the AirPods Pro.
Apple's AirPods 2 now officially ships at $129/£119/AU$219 and is no longer available with the wireless charging case. The price has dropped a lot recently, as it originally cost $159 / £159 / AU$249 with the standard charging case or $199/£199/AU$319 with the wireless charging case.
Apple AirPods 3 design
The AirPods 3 have undergone something of a design transformation. The contoured earpiece is now designed to better fit in the ear, while the stems have been shortened, looking more akin to the AirPods Pro.
Some users may be disappointed not to see the rubber tips on the new model (as features on the AirPods Pro). However this feature – and the noise cancellation made possible by their tight fit – is one clear differential between the two earbuds.