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AirPods 3 expected at today's Apple Event – is this what they'll look like?

Apple AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Like plenty of Apple fans, we were disappointed not to see any new AirPods during last month's iPhone 13 event. Rumours have suggested for a while that the entry-level model (which has looked the same since 2016) is due a design refresh, and tonight could be the night it finally happens.

We've heard tell for a while that the third generation AirPods will sport a new design, and leaked photos appeared to confirm the rumours this year. (Check out our best cheap AirPods page if you're in the market for some new Apple headphones right now.)

AirPods image

Alleged photos of the next AirPods (Image credit: LeaksApplePro)

So what should we expect? The leaked photos (above), courtesy of LeaksApplePro (opens in new tab) on Twitter, reveal earbuds that look almost the same as the AirPods Pro, complete with shorter stem and in-ear design. The only notable omission appears to be the removable silicon tip. The charging case, meanwhile, features the same wider design as the AirPods Pro version. 

This matches up with previous reports (opens in new tab), including leaked renders (below) depicting the AirPods 3 as a budget version of the AirPods Pro (opens in new tab). It seems the AirPods' iconic, long stem could finally be on the way out, with the shorter 'Pro' version becoming the (to borrow one of last year's most popular phrases) new normal.

AirPods

A render of the upcoming third generation AirPods  (Image credit: 52audio)

Internally, the new AirPods are rumoured to lack some of the more advanced features of the AirPod Pro, such as active noise cancellation. Battery life is expected to be similar to the Pro, and according to 52audio (opens in new tab), it is "highly probable" that the AirPods 3 will also feature spatial audio (which is able to create 3D, cinema-like sound for videos).

It seems the third generation AirPods are designed to close the gap between the original model and the current AirPods Pro, with a similar design and features. As for the Pro themselves, we've heard some pretty wild rumours about what's coming next – from a stem-less design to teeth-based controls (seriously).

AirPods Pro

The new design appear heavily based on the AirPods Pro (Image credit: Apple)

While the in-ear AirPods line up was rather neglected by Apple last month, it seems October could be its chance to steal the spotlight. But if you'd prefer not to wait, check out today's best AirPods deals below. And for more brilliant offers, be sure to head to our main Apple deals page.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).