Apple has unveiled the third generation of AirPods featuring spatial audio and a new contoured design.
By combining the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver sound with Adaptive EQ. Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices.
The new AirPods are resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the charging case.
“AirPods forever changed wireless headphones with their groundbreaking design, incredible sound, and magical experience,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“We are excited to introduce the next generation of AirPods, featuring unrivaled sound through Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, along with seamless interaction between Apple devices — making the world’s best-selling headphones even better.”
The new design of AirPods is lightweight and contoured, sitting at just the right angle for comfort and to direct audio into the ear. For a more subtle appearance, the stem is shorter than the previous generation and features the same intuitive force sensor as AirPods Pro for media control.
The new AirPods are resistant to both sweat and water, with an IPX4 rating for both the earbuds and the charging case.
AirPods (3rd generation) build on the sound quality that AirPods are known for, starting with a custom driver and a high dynamic range amplifier that together produce powerful bass with crisp, clean high frequencies. The microphone is covered by an acoustic mesh to help reduce the sound of wind, so the speaker’s voice comes across distinctly on calls.
AirPods also feature AAC-ELD, a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality, providing clear, natural communication for FaceTime calls.
The new AirPods feature Adaptive EQ that tunes sound in real time based on how AirPods fit in the user’s ear. An inward-facing microphone monitors for sound, and then Adaptive EQ, powered by computational audio, tunes the low and mid frequencies to account for what may be lost due to variances in fit.
Spatial audio creates a three-dimensional theatre-like experience, placing sound virtually anywhere in space, and with Dolby Atmos, AirPods have never sounded better. Users can also enjoy this multi-level experience with dynamic head tracking, so music, video, and even Group FaceTime calls feel more immersive than ever before.
Using advanced spatial audio algorithms, and by applying directional audio filters to subtly adjust the frequencies that each ear receives, the new AirPods can place sound all around the user.
With one-touch setup that automatically pairs AirPods with other Apple devices, users can effortlessly enjoy music throughout the day. Audio Sharing allows listeners to share the audio stream between two sets of AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, while using iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV.
A new skin-detect sensor accurately discerns if AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when removed. To help with sound clarity, beamforming microphones block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice, while users can also enjoy a hands-free experience by simply saying “Hey Siri” for requests.
Longer Battery Life
AirPods (3rd generation) offer an extra hour of battery life over the previous generations, with up to six hours of listening time and up to four hours of talk time. Just five minutes of charging provides about an hour of battery life, and with four additional charges in the case, users can get up to 30 hours of total listening time.
AirPods are now also part of the MagSafe ecosystem for convenient wireless charging.
AirPods with iOS and iPadOS
With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, users can enjoy the following features:
With spatial audio and dynamic head tracking, voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the person is positioned on the screen, making it seem as if everyone is in the same room.
Announce Notifications allows Siri to read important time-sensitive notifications, including alerts from Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and calls, as well as any third-party apps that adopt the API.
AirPods are now part of the Find My network of hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers around the world, offering proximity view in the Find My app and Lost Mode, as well as separation alerts and sounds.
AirPods (3rd generation) will be available for £179 and are available to order from apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in the UK and more than 26 other countries and regions starting today, with availability in stores beginning Tuesday, October 26.
AirPods (2nd generation) will be available at the new price of £129.