Apple AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Professional: The largest variations we anticipate to see

The AirPods 3 may have a brand new design that resembles the AirPods Professional.

Angela Lang/CNET

This story is a part of Apple Occasion, our full protection of the newest information from Apple headquarters.

The iPhone 13 is predicted to be the primary attraction at Apple’s digital occasion on Sept. 14, however there’s an opportunity we’d additionally see the the AirPods 3 debut. Rumors and experiences counsel {that a} refreshed model of the usual AirPods (sure, those with the lengthy stems) may launch in 2021, and Apple’s annual product launch occasion looks like the perfect time to do it.

If the rumors show true, the brand new AirPods can be much more just like the high-end AirPods Professional. More likely to be referred to as the AirPods 3, Apple’s subsequent true wi-fi earbuds may characteristic a brand new design with shorter stems, interchangeable ear ideas, a brand new Apple chip and a smaller charging case.

That would make deciding between the usual AirPods and AirPods Professional all of the tougher.  There’s no strategy to really know what to anticipate from the AirPods 3 till Apple unveils them. And we additionally don’t know whether or not they’ll be priced the identical as the present entry-level AirPods. However right here’s a have a look at how they might examine to the AirPods Professional based mostly on the experiences, leaks, and rumors to this point.

AirPods 3 (rumored) vs. AirPods Professional

AirPods 3 (rumored) AirPods Professional
Launch value $159 $249
Processor Subsequent-gen Apple chip Apple H1
Match Customizable Customizable
Lively noise cancellation No Sure
Water resistance No Sure

Design: The AirPods 3 may appear to be the AirPods Professional, however with some slight variations.

Among the many largest adjustments reportedly coming to the AirPods 3 is a revamped design that extra intently resembles that of the AirPods Professional. Final 12 months, Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (by way of MacRumors) have each reported that Apple’s entry-level AirPods will acquire a brand new look with shorter stems and replaceable ear ideas. Since then, we’ve additionally seen a few leaks indicating the identical. 

Chinese language audio weblog 52 Audio posted a photograph in February claiming to indicate what the AirPods 3 appear to be. Twitter account Leaks Apple Professional additionally posted a photograph in March that many have speculated could possibly be the AirPods 3.

In each pictures, you’ll discover that the earbuds have considerably shorter stems very similar to the AirPods Professional. Though they appear much more just like the Execs, the pictures counsel there’ll nonetheless be some visible variations between each fashions. 


This picture from 52audio claims to indicate what the AirPods 3 appear to be.


The stems should be barely longer on the AirPods 3 in comparison with the Execs, and the earbuds themselves additionally don’t look as slender because the Execs. Not one of the pictures present the ear ideas that the AirPods 3 are anticipated to ship with both. The supposed case for the AirPods 3 proven within the pictures additionally appears like a barely taller model of the AirPods Professional charging case.

The AirPods 3 are additionally anticipated to return with changeable ear ideas for a extra customizable match, in line with Bloomberg. If that’s true, then we will doubtless anticipate Apple to incorporate three ear tip sizes within the field and an ear tip match take a look at throughout the setup course of, identical to the AirPods Professional. 

Kuo supplied one other clue indicating that the AirPods 3 may have an AirPods Professional-like design. In a analysis word reported by Apple Insider, he talked about the AirPods 3 will use the identical system-in-package design because the AirPods Professional, which Apple says contributes to the earbuds’ dimension and efficiency. That would imply Apple is making an attempt to squeeze the AirPods 3’s elements right into a sleeker construct just like the Professional. However we haven’t heard whether or not the AirPods 3 will acquire water resistance just like the Execs.

All informed, the AirPods 3 seem like a cross between the second-generation normal AirPods and the AirPods Professional when it comes to design.

Audio: Lively noise cancellation will nonetheless doubtless be unique to the AirPods Professional.

Sure, the AirPods 3 will look much more just like the AirPods Professional. However will they sound extra like them? That reply is much less clear, however what appears sure is that the AirPods 3 received’t embrace energetic noise cancellation, in line with Bloomberg. 

Nevertheless, the 52 Audio report does trace that one other premium audio characteristic would possibly trickle all the way down to the AirPods 3: spatial audio. This characteristic creates a encompass sound impact that tracks the motion of your head when watching supported films and TV exhibits, nevertheless it’s solely at present accessible on the AirPods Professional and AirPods Max. 

In any other case, we haven’t heard a lot about whether or not the AirPods 3 will get any significant audio upgrades that convey them nearer to the AirPods Professional. But when their new design leads to a greater match, it’s cheap to anticipate that the AirPods 3 will sound higher too.  

Efficiency: The AirPods 3 could have a more recent chip and longer battery life in contrast with the AirPods Professional

Apple is predicted to introduce a brand new model of its wi-fi chip within the AirPods 3, in line with Bloomberg. Apple’s next-generation AirPods Professional will even reportedly have this chip, however Bloomberg doesn’t specify when the brand new high-end earbuds would launch. Meaning we’ll in all probability see the chip within the AirPods 3 first since Apple is anticipated to unveil them in September alongside the iPhone 13.

There aren’t any particulars in regards to the kinds of upgrades this chip may convey. But when the bounce between Apple’s W1 and H1 chip is any indication, we might even see sooner connection speeds. The H1 chip additionally launched hands-free Siri assist to Apple’s second-generation AirPods, so there’s an opportunity we’ll see different new options within the AirPods 3 as properly.

The AirPods 3 might also get some battery life enhancements, probably placing them forward of the AirPods Professional. Bloomberg’s report mentions that Apple is “trying to enhance” battery life with the AirPods 3, though it didn’t share any further particulars. However it’s doable that the AirPods 3’s new chip may result in higher effectivity total, leading to longer battery life.

The present AirPods and AirPods Professional supply related battery life. Each are estimated to offer as much as 5 hours of listening time in line with Apple, however utilizing energetic noise cancellation and transparency mode will doubtless convey the Professional’s battery life all the way down to 4.5 hours. 

Value: The AirPods 3 will in all probability nonetheless be cheaper than the AirPods Professional

Because the AirPods 3 are supposed to succeed Apple’s normal AirPods, it’s nearly sure that they’ll be cheaper than the AirPods Professional. Apple sells its second-generation AirPods for $159, though you will discover them for just under $120 on Amazon. Equally, the AirPods Professional value $249 by Apple and promote for $189.98 on Amazon.

The larger query is whether or not the AirPods 3 will value greater than the second-generation AirPods. We received’t know till Apple makes the announcement, nevertheless it’s a chance if the AirPods 3 have an up to date design and sooner chip. 

General, the AirPods 3 appear to be they’ll convey Apple’s earbuds up to the mark in two areas that matter most: consolation and efficiency. However you’ll nonetheless doubtless nonetheless should splurge on the AirPods Professional to get higher audio high quality and energetic noise cancellation. We’re anticipating to be taught extra throughout Apple’s large occasion on September 14.

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