Apple’s 3rd-generation AirPods arrive next week with a new design, spatial audio

Apple’s 3rd-generation AirPods arrive next week with a new design, spatial audio

Enlarge / The third-generation Apple AirPods. (credit: Apple)

Today, Apple announced an update to its popular AirPods true wireless earbuds. The new third-generation model features a slightly revamped design that looks more like the higher-end AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and a similar touch-based "force sensor" control scheme built-in. Their charging case takes after the shorter and wider design of the Pro model as well.

The new AirPods retain their usual hard plastic finish and do not have in-ear tips like the AirPods Pro, though Apple says they are now officially IPX4-rated for sweat and water resistance. Apple says the earbuds have six hours of battery life and up to 30 hours when including the charging case. (That's compared to five and 24 hours, respectively, on the second-gen model.) The included case supports MagSafe and wireless charging, though the earbuds do not feature active noise cancellation or a transparency mode like their pricier siblings.

Though the second-gen AirPods were renowned more for their ease of use than their audio quality, Apple says it has updated them with a redesigned driver and an adaptive EQ feature that automatically tunes your music based on the AirPods' fit in your ear. The earbuds will also use Apple's spatial audio tech, which makes audio sound like it is coming from around the user's head. To help with that, the new AirPods support dynamic head tracking like the AirPods Pro and the over-ear AirPods Max. We'll have to get our hands on the new model to see how they perform.

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