AirPods 3 with noise cancellation spotted bearing new design in iOS 13.2 beta

Apple has reportedly been working on a pair of premium AirPods for quite some time and now a new finding suggests the third-generation of the company’s popular wireless earphones could finally be around the corner. 

All-new design complete with a rubber tip

Spotted first by 9To5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo, the iOS 13.2 beta which Apple released earlier today contains a small icon that seemingly reveals what the company’s AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro will look like. Specifically, the next-generation wireless earphones could adopt a shorter design that also features a large in-ear portion and a rubber tip. The latter could potentially attract a new group of customers that aren’t fans of Apple’s current AirPods design.

The file name includes a reference to a B298 codename which is presumably the internal name Apple uses for its upcoming AirPods. Additionally, the image itself was found inside the Accessibility Settings folder. This suggests a new accessibility feature for the accessory that’ll allow them to be used as hearing aids or perhaps improvements to the current Live Listen capabilities may be in the works.

On a related note, the leak corroborates a set of images that appeared in early September. These apparently depict an AirPods 3 prototype but were ultimately deemed pretty sketchy at the time. However, today’s findings seemingly suggest the leak was credible. If that’s the case, Apple’s set of premium AirPods could ship alongside a redesigned charging case that’s noticeably wider but drastically shorter than the current version. It’s unclear if any internal improvements will be made to it but faster charging could be on the cards.

Noise cancellation and water resistance are likely

Over a year ago, Bloomberg reported Apple was preparing a pair of AirPods that featured an all-new design coupled with some important new features. It seems as though today’s leak could be the ones Bloomberg was referring too, which ultimately suggests AirPods 3 will support active noise cancellation and water resistance. 

At the time, Apple was also said to be working on extending the range at which AirPods can be used away from a connected device. Also under research was a built-in heart rate monitor, although it’s unclear if this has since been scrapped. Either way, the setup will probably be completed by a next-generation audio chip and improvements to battery life.

Earlier this year, tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer said Apple’s new AirPods would be offered in “new colors.” These weren't specified but a black version has been rumored for quite some time. Previous leaks have also suggested an iPhone 11 Pro-like matte coating that’ll reduce slipperiness may be part of the setup but the leaked prototype images suggest this may have been scrapped.

AirPods 3 announcement and price

AirPods 3 may enter production as soon as this month which means an announcement could take place at the company’s rumored event in late October. If this fails to happen, the company may delay the unveiling until March 2020 and choose to commence shipments soon after. Either way, the introduction coincides with trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s launch timeline predictions.

Apple is yet to confirm how much its premium pair of AirPods will cost but a price somewhere between $250 and $300 certainly seems likely. This will allow the company to sell its next-generation earphones alongside the current pair. Separate rumors suggest over-ear headphones that'll sit above the current Beats-branded lineup nay also be under development. Little is known about this product right now but the company could choose to announce it alongside its new premium AirPods.
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