Monday, October 18, 2021

AirPods 3

Apple (video, Hacker News, MacRumors):

By combining the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ. Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices. The new AirPods are resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the convenient charging case.


AirPods also feature AAC-ELD, a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality, providing clear, natural communication for FaceTime calls.


A new skin-detect sensor accurately discerns if AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when removed.

I like the shorter stem, water resistance, and the fact that Apple seems to have kept its most comfortable shape. I wonder if the increased battery life comes from a larger battery, meaning that the product might last for more years.

I don’t like that it has the less usable pressing controls from AirPods Pro, and the less comfortable case size and shape.

The original AirPods and AirPods 2 were $159. AirPods 3 are $179, but you can now get AirPods 2 for $129. I still like AirPods Pro because of the noise cancellation, but otherwise I’d probably be happier with AirPods 2, even without the $50 savings.


Update (2021-10-18): AirPods 2 does not include a wireless charging case. Originally, you could get AirPods 2 bundled with the wireless case for $199. Now, it seems to only be available as a $79 extra, making the total more than with AirPods 3. That’s kind of strange, though for me the wireless case is not very important.

Update (2021-10-25): Hartley Charlton:

The MagSafe Charging Case for the third-generation AirPods features sweat and water resistance, making the standard AirPods the first to feature an IPX4-rated charging case.

Update (2021-10-29): Federico Viticci:

- Case is smaller than AirPods Pro
- MagSafe attachment is awesome for compatible stands
- In-ear shape is definitely bigger than AirPods 2

Mike Rockwell:

The new shape is pretty odd. It feels like they don’t sit as firmly in my ears as the previous ones, so I’m a little worried they’re going to fall out a lot. But I haven’t had any issues so far.

Mike Rundle:

AirPods 3 single tweet review: sound is closer in quality to AirPods Pro than AirPods 2, much better bass response, closer fit in ears is very nice, slightly harder to pull from the case than AirPods 2 but I’m sure I’ll figure out the trick soon, overall a massive upgrade 👍

Matt Birchler:

The case on the new AirPods is noticeably smaller than the Pro and helps it fit way better in the little coin pocket thing in my jeans.

It’s a massive decrease from the Beats Studio Buds case I’ve been using for much of the year.

Rob Rhyne:

The imaging on these 3rd gen AirPods are unreal.

If I press them deeper into my ear, the sound doesn’t change! This Adaptive EQ tech is no joke.

Sound quality is equivalent to the Pros, without the uncomfortable seal. 🤯

Juli Clover:

Overall, reviews of the AirPods 3 were highly positive. Reviewers like the new design, which is more comfortable and offers a tighter and more secure fit in the ears, and the improved fit also makes the sound quality better than before.

Update (2021-11-16): Julio Ojeda-Zapata and Josh Centers:

The first thing I noticed about the new AirPods is how much bigger the buds are. While the original AirPods were a perfect fit for my ears, the new ones are a bit uncomfortable because they’re so large. My wife found even the original AirPods painful, so she declined my offer to try the new ones.


Automatic device switching moves your AirPods connection between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac depending on which device you’re using. Both Josh and Julio found that it doesn’t live up to its promise.

I hear from lots of customers that they prefer to turn off automatic device switching and use ToothFairy instead.

Update (2021-11-29): Saagar Jha:

Haven’t heard anyone else talking about this, but third generation AirPods are much easier to clean than second generation ones are. As a professional AirPods scrubber™ the design makes the process take under half the time, with better results.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Regarding battery: it should have the same battery as AirPods Pro, which also feature 5 hour battery life if ACN is turned off.

I wonder if the call quality (microphone) is any better on these than the AirPods Pro...the background noise on mine is so terrible! Nobody can ever hear me on walks because they pick up so much noise from the street (Yes, I've tried disabling auto-switching for the mic)

I was hoping Apple would hop on the Blueooth LE Audio bandwagon with this release of the AirPods. Bluetooth LE Audio has some really promosing features like native support for "true wireless" headphones. But since Bluetooth 5.2 wasn't even advertised on the new iPhone, maybe the specs weren't ready yet. Too bad.

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