AirPods 3 to be unveiled Monday says analyst; expect to see a shorter stem and hear improved audio

AirPods 3 to be unveiled Monday says analyst; expect to see a shorter stem and hear improved audio
Apple will be holding its "Unleashed" event this Monday, October 18th, starting at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern Time). We believe that the "Unleashed" title has to do with the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that will are likely to be introduced. And these models are expected to be powered by the sequel to Apple's powerful M1 chip.

The M1 was created to replace the Intel processors that Apple had been using on the Mac. With 16 billion transistors, the M1 is built by TSMC using its 5nm process node. The successor, the M1X, could be manufactured using TSMC's second-generation 5nm process node.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives sees Apple introducing a new AirPods model this coming Monday

Since Apple has shown no hesitation to use the M1 in the iPad Pro, the next generation of Apple's premium slate might run on the M1X. Because the  M-series uses ARM's architecture, there is even some conjecture about Apple using a chip like the M1 or M1X for the iPhone one day.

During Monday's "Unleashed" event, we expect to see Apple introduce the third-generation AirPods at last. And our prediction is backed up by Wedbush analyst Dan Ives whose note to clients was read by MacRumors. Ives says that the third-generation AirPods take their design cue from the AirPods Pro which means they should sport a shorter stem than the second-generation AirPods.

Even though the third-generation AirPods are believed to look like the AirPods Pro, they will not offer Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) as Apple would prefer to keep that as the main difference between the standard and "Pro" models. The new AirPods are reportedly going to provide improved sound quality and possibly other new features including a smaller charging case. Wedbush's supply chain checks reveal that the true wireless stereo earbuds have already been manufactured and are all ready to ship.

Apple is supposedly planning on keeping the AirPods 2 in the lineup which means that the company has a couple of different pricing and marketing scenarios in mind. It could keep the AirPods 2 priced at $159 (with wired charging case) or $199 (with wireless charging case) and raise the price on the AirPods 3, or price the current model at new lower prices and tag the new AirPods 3 at $159/$199 depending on the charging case.

The high end of the third-generation AirPods is capped at the $249 price of the AirPods Pro because of the lack of noise cancellation in the new non-pro model. A tipster on China's Weibo social media platform who goes by the handle of @PandaIsBald also has said to expect the new AirPods 3 to be unveiled on Monday. This tipster correctly forecast that Apple would introduce the 9th-generation iPad during last month's California Streaming event and had that called correctly.

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If @PandaIsBald is correct (along with Daniel Ives), Monday's event will result in the first update to the standard AirPods line since the second generation model was introduced in March 2019. The OG model was introduced in 2016 and has remained the top shipping true wireless stereo earbuds in the "hearables" market.

AirPods Pro free service program gets an extended

Apple's premium AirPods Pro is getting long in the tooth by the standards of modern tech where everything moves at breakneck speed. Perhaps a successor to the model will see the light of day by next year. Meanwhile, we should tell you that Apple has expanded a program that was launched last year to repair certain AirPods Pro models made before October 2020.

The affected models experience crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, while exercising, or while talking on the phone. At the same time, Active Noise Cancellation won't work as expected with a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds (such as street or airplane noise). Apple, or an authorized service provider, said that it would fix the device free of charge for up to two years from the date that the unit was purchased retail.

But Apple has announced that it is extending the free repair program. Those who purchased the AirPods Pro at launch in 2019 will now be covered through 2022. Those who bought the AirPods Pro in 2020 before the revised model was released will be covered by a free repair until 2023. Units brought in for repair will be examined to make sure that they are eligible for the program and if they are, and the unit fails, it will be replaced.

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