Apple AirPods 3 investigation: Everything we know so far

Leaks of icons and prototypes suggest in-ear design is on its way
Apple AirPods 3 investigation
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Apple's AirPods may have been initially ridiculed, but they're now a titanic smart earbuds success, as demonstrated on high streets the world over.

Apple gave them an update earlier this year, with a new wireless charging case, but nothing about the design of the AirPods 2 was actually new.

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That could be about to change, though - persistent leaks and rumors suggest that a third generation of AirPods is just around the corner. We've gathered all the information floating around so far, so that you can get to know everything about AirPods 3.

New animation hints at noise-cancelling

The above animation has been uncovered in the upcoming 13.2 release of iOS, and suggests that a new AirPods model is on the way with some form of extra control available to users.

Based on Apple's similar integration of noise cancelling on the Beats Studio 3 headphones, there's a good chance that this is a toggle for that feature, which will make its way onto the new AirPods model.

iOS 13.2 beta has a revealing icon

Apple AirPods 3 spotted in latest iOS update with a big design change

The beta version for iOS 13.2 had also already yielded what looks like an icon for new Pods, that hints at the next iteration featuring an in-ear design.

The grey and white icon shows a stubbier set of headphones, with the appearance of earbuds, though retaining some of those familiar AirPods design traits.

The icon was found in the accessibility settings for iOS 13.2, and was accompanied by mentions of a "focus mode", which could corroborate the animation above, indicating that users will be able to switch noise isolation on or off at will.

Apple has been rumored to be working on AirPods with noise-cancellation features, and between this icon and the animation above, that could well be the case.

It also looks like the new models will be able to offer hearing aid-like functionality, much like older versions.

Prototype designs leaked

And finally: Third-generation AirPods prototype may have just leaked

Before that icon leaked, though, we got leaked images of potential AirPods prototypes, which have a form factor that shares strong similarities with the icon uncovered in the iOS beta.

There were no details of any sort to accompany the images when they leaked, but if they are legit, it looks like the new version may also feature a smaller charging case.

Another hardware event to come?

Alongside these obvious design tweaks, we'd expect some minor changes to internals as well, when or if Apple launches new AirPods.

There have been rumors that Apple is planning another hardware event in October to announce a few more products and updates.

As we mentioned, it has already launched a new pair of its AirPods this year, which boasted slightly improved internals alongside that wireless charging case. Maybe Apple has something more impressive in store for us on the hearable front before the year is out.

What do you think?
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