Apple today announced the third generation of AirPods featuring spatial audio, delivering advanced features and a magical experience in 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 breakthrough 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 time1 and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the convenient charging case. AirPods (3rd generation) join the world’s most popular family of headphones and are available to order starting today, and in stores beginning Tuesday, October 26.
“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.2
Breakthrough Audio Features
AirPods (3rd generation) build on the great 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 use computational audio to bring the breakthrough experiences that customers love on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max — like Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking — to even more people.
For an optimal listening experience with rich detail, 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 theater-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.3 AirPods are now also part of the MagSafe ecosystem for convenient wireless charging.
AirPods with iOS and iPadOS
AirPods offer exceptional convenience and sound quality, and 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.4
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.
Apple and the Environment
AirPods are designed with numerous materials and features to reduce their environmental impact, including the 100 percent recycled rare earth elements used in all magnets. The case also uses 100 percent recycled tin in the solder of the main logic board, and 100 percent recycled aluminum in the hinge. AirPods are also free of potentially harmful substances such as mercury, BFRs, PVC, and beryllium. For energy efficiency, AirPods meet US Department of Energy requirements for battery charger systems. Apple’s Zero Waste program helps suppliers eliminate waste sent to landfills, and all final assembly supplier sites are transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production. In the packaging, 100 percent of the virgin wood fiber comes from responsibly managed forests.
Today, Apple is carbon neutral for global corporate operations, and by 2030, plans to have net-zero climate impact across the entire business, which includes manufacturing supply chains and all product life cycles. This means that every Apple device sold, from component manufacturing, assembly, transport, customer use, charging, all the way through recycling and material recovery, will be 100 percent carbon neutral.
Pricing and Availability
AirPods (3rd generation) will be available for $179 (US) and are available to order from apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in the US 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 (US).
AirPods Pro now come with MagSafe Charging Case for the same price of $249 (US).
With the Apple Music Voice Plan, users can enjoy millions of songs, playlists, and stations in the Apple Music catalog through Siri. The Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later this fall in select countries and regions for $4.99 (US) per month.
New subscribers can get Apple Music free for six months with the purchase of any AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.5
AirPods require Apple devices running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, or macOS Monterey, all available as free software updates next week.
Customers can add personal engraving with emoji, text, and numbers to cases for AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd generation), and AirPods (2nd generation) for free on apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app.