What's changed and what's new in the Apple AirPods 3?

Apple just released AirPods 3, a re-designed version of the older AirPods with new features that might just make it worth the price premium.


Apple just made the AirPods 3 official. As per our earlier prediction, Apple used a second event (all within the same month) to reveal the brand new AirPods to expecting fans, and it certainly did not disappoint. But while it's easy to remember that the AirPods 3 has spatial audio support with IPX4 sweat resistance, most might have missed the other significant but underrated features of Apple's brand new true wireless earbuds.

The Apple AirPods 3 are actually a bargain when you think about it.

With that said, you've probably got a laundry list of questions that you desperately want answers to. For example, how much do the AirPods 3 cost? When are the AirPods 3 going on sale? How long is the battery life of the AirPods 3? What's the difference between AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro? Here's everything that you need to know about the AirPods 3.

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When is the AirPods 3 going to release?

You can get your hands on the AirPods 3 as early as next week.

After several weeks' worth of rumors and leaks, Apple finally launched the AirPods 3 at the Unleashed event alongside new MacBook Pros and MacOS 12 Monterey. Similar to the recently announced M1 Pro and M1 Max devices, the AirPods 3 are already available for pre-order right now and will start shipping as soon as next week.

According to Apple, most official Apple retailers should have the AirPods 3 available in-store starting as early as October 26.

How much do the AirPods 3 cost?

It's rare for an Apple product to be as well-priced as the AirPods 3.

Apple's stable of wireless earbuds just got a lot bigger with the AirPods 3. Because of its price point, Apple now has something to offer for people who are looking for something more feature-filled than the AirPods 3 but less expensive than the AirPods Pro. The AirPods 3 retails at $179, which is $70 less than the AirPod Pro's $249 price point and just $50 more than the AirPods 2 at $129.

However, it is worth mentioning that Apple just stealthily announced that all AirPods Pro units will start shipping with the same MagSafe charging case as the AirPods 3 going forward.

Does the AirPods 3 look different in terms of design?

The Apple AirPods 3 have been redesigned to be better in every way compared to the AirPods 2.

At first glance, you probably wouldn't notice. But, if you take a closer look, you'll see how Apple redesigned the AirPods 3 to have a more angled fit. Apple claims that this helps improve the comfortability and listening experience without affecting the weight as much. The AirPods 3 also comes with a high dynamic range amplifier and a brand new driver.

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The trickle-down effect is also very real as the AirPods 3 borrows a couple of key features from the AirPods Pro such as the shorter stems and touch controls. Unfortunately, the AirPods 3 still doesn't have interchangeable ear tips; this remains exclusive to its more expensive sibling.

As for the calling experience, Apple has covered the mic of the AirPods 3 with an acoustic mesh to minimize wind noise with an AAC-ELD codec for higher quality calls over FaceTime.

What's new in the AirPods 3?

The AirPods 3 don't just look new, the latest AirPods also bring plenty of fresh features on the table, and some aren't just borrowed from the AirPods Pro. For example, while the AirPods 3 has the same spatial audio support in Dolby Atmos and dynamic head tracking, it has a much longer battery life (30 hours with the case compared to the AirPods Pro at 24 hours).

Speaking of the AirPods Pro, the AirPods 3 comes with Adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts frequencies depending on how you're wearing the AirPods.

On that note, the AirPods 3 are more durable as well. The wireless earbuds are not IPX4 water and sweat-resistant, as well as a "skin-detect" sensor that can tell if you're wearing the earbuds or not and pause automatically whenever you take them out. It's a bummer that the AirPods 3 still doesn't have active noise cancellation, but then again, Apple might have just reserved this feature for the more premium AirPods Pro.

Are the AirPods 3 worth buying?

If you haven't had a chance to jump on the wireless earbuds bandwagon yet and you have money to spare, the AirPods 3 are a no-brainer. It doesn't exactly come with all the premium features of the AirPods Pro, but it's also $70 cheaper. At the same time, it's just $50 more expensive than the AirPods 2 and comes with its wireless charging case already, which makes its $179 price point a rare steal for a newly launched Apple product.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.