Apple’s AirPods 3 could be coming soon, and there are few upgrades I’m hoping for


Apple may have the new AirPods 3 ready for its rumored September event alongside the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch 7. Over the years, AirPods have become a practically essential tool for work, school and more. Lots of other excellent Bluetooth earbuds exist, but AirPods are still impressively instant and have really good microphones. Plus, being able to swap from one ear to another has helped me extend battery life by one-earing my way through long meetings.



The AirPods (left) and AirPods Pro (right). The original AirPods could adopt the Pro look this year. Sarah Tew/CNET


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The AirPods (left) and AirPods Pro (right). The original AirPods could adopt the Pro look this year. Sarah Tew/CNET

The second-gen AirPods are almost two years old, while AirPods Pro are over a year old, and have continued to evolve. Apple added spatial audio in 2020, and the massively expensive AirPods Max arrived with a different proposition (I prefer small earbuds, not big headphones), so what will AirPods 3 bring? And what do I even want? For me, it’s mostly about better connection.

Rumors about AirPods 3 are getting louder

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AirPods Pro Lite buds could shift all AirPods to the Pro look





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Some reports say that the third-gen AirPods will look like the Pros, minus the active noise cancellation and spatial audio features. Which means they’ll have shorter stems and have replaceable ear tips in different sizes.

I appreciate the AirPod Pro design and its less visible look, but I have mixed feelings about the ear tips. The deeper in-ear feel sealed off for better noise-blocking, but I appreciate the easier and more pass-through-friendly design of the originals for casual call-monitoring. Maybe Apple will split the difference somehow.

Read more: AirPods vs. AirPods Pro: Should you spend the extra $80?

AirPods Pro Lite could also end up being more expensive than the second-gen AirPods, which isn’t ideal at all. Maybe they’d deliver better sound or better battery life to make the possible price bump worth it.



a close up of a toy: The AirPods Pro have pass-through audio and noise cancellation. Don't expect all that on entry-level AirPods, but hopefully strides can be made on Bluetooth connection. Angela Lang/CNET


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The AirPods Pro have pass-through audio and noise cancellation. Don’t expect all that on entry-level AirPods, but…

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