Apple unveils next-generation AirPods with shorter stems and ‘spatial audio’

Apple Mac Event 2021
Mac Event 2021 Apple
  • Apple unveiled AirPods 3 on Monday with shorter stems and spatial audio.
  • The next-generation headphones are at $US179 ($AU241) and are available to order starting Monday.
  • Apple remains the leader in the wireless earphone market, five years after the AirPods 1 launch.

Apple unveiled its next-generation AirPods during Monday’s virtual MacBook event.

The AirPods 3 feature slightly shorter stems without the plastic tips that have come with its predecessors. They also feature the company’s surround sound-like spatial audio feature, which has come in Apple’s AirPods Pro and over-the-ear AirPods Max.

The earpieces themselves are slightly broader, and the new AirPods case subsequently appears to be slightly wider than previous generations.

The next-gen model also has a longer battery life and can provide six hours of listening time, with MagSafe charging capabilities. It’s equipped with technology that customizes the sound for the wearer’s ear shape as well and is resistant to both sweat and water.

The new AirPods are priced at $US179 ($AU241), according to the company, and are available to order starting Monday. They’ll hit Apple stores next week. Second-generation AirPods will now be available for $US129 ($AU174).

Apple launched its first AirPods in 2016 and turned the wireless earphone market on its head. According to data from Counterpoint, Apple held 29% of the market share in the third quarter of 2020, three times that of its closest competitor, Xiaomi.