Apple AirPods 3rd generation: three things you need to know

The new AirPod earbuds bring spatial audio, a new design and Magsafe charging

Apple AirPods 3
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has released its third-generation AirPods wireless earbuds with a host of new features to improve your listening experience. The new model still sits below the AirPods Pro but brings some of its features to the standard AirPods range.

The AirPods have a new smaller contoured design, with new drivers and adaptive EQ. There’s more battery life and perhaps crucially, spatial audio to get the full 3D sound experience.

The one thing that’s not here is noise cancellation – that remains only on the AirPods Pro model, as there are still no rubber tips here to seal them to your ears. Many users actually prefer the fit of the solid AirPods over the rubber-tipped AirPods Pro, so hopefully, these will fit just as well.

If you’re looking to invest in a new pair of earbuds, the new 3rd gen AirPods are worth considering. Here are the three things you need to know about the new AirPods.

Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Apple)

New smaller design

The shape of the AirPods has been redesigned to fit better in your ear. Those long stems are gone, making them look a little more like the AirPods but without that tight fitting rubber tips. The design is also now sweat and water resistant, making them more suited to use for exercise.

Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Apple)

Improved audio features

Using the H1 chip and a new acoustic system, the 3rd generation AirPods now delivers spatial audio with dynamic head tracking and Dolby Atmos compatibility. This was previously limited to the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max models (as well as some Beats models) so it allows more people to experience the upgraded sound experience.

It also uses the Adaptive EQ from the AirPods Pro, to adjust the frequencies to suit your ears.

Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Apple)

Longer battery life

Battery life has been improved for the third generation AirPods, giving you an extra hour of use over the second-generation model. This translates to six hours of listening time or 30 hours from the charging case.

Charging the AirPods is also now easier with wireless MagSafe charging. Charging for just five minutes can also give you an extra hour of listening time. There's still no mention of a multi-device Magsafe charger but you can easily use your iPhone charger for now.

The AirPods (3rd Generation) are available to preorder now, priced $179/£169, and in-store from Tuesday, October 26. 

Mat Gallagher
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. Originally from the UK, he has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing and Hong Kong, is now based in Chicago. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.