New Report Confirms We’ll See The AirPods Pro Lite In 2021

When it comes to true wireless earbuds, none are as instantly recognizable as Apple’s legendary AirPods and AirPods Pro. Apple didn’t invent this category of audio accessories, but there’s no question the company did more to popularize them than anyone.

When it comes to speculating on what’s next, especially now that the AirPods Max is an official product, there’s a huge buzz for news and rumors about the Apple AirPods 3, or as many now call them, the AirPods Pro Lite.

What features can we expect from the AirPods 3 and how much do they cost? Here’s everything we know (or think we know) about Apple’s next AirPods model so far.


AirPods Small / AirPods 3

via 52audio

– DuanRui (@ duanrui1205) November 5, 2020

What do the AirPods 3 look like? They’ll end up looking very similar to the AirPods Pro, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, but that could mean several things. This could mean they use the exact same shape, or they just borrow the silicone tips from the AirPods Pro, which gives them a noise isolating design preferred by a vast majority of real wireless earbud makers.

A Bloomberg report on October 26th confirmed Kuo’s prediction: “The updated entry-level AirPods will look similar to the current AirPods Pro with a shorter stem and interchangeable earbuds.” to lend. The new earbuds are intended for “those who like the shape and fit of AirPods Pro but don’t use noise cancellation will be potential customers. ”

But a November 4th leak from 52Audio that claims to reveal the first real photos of the new AirPods shows a design that is somewhere in between. They seem to adopt the overall size and shape of the AirPods Pro, including the shorter, angled stems, but the speaker opening isn’t covered with a silicone eartip. Instead, it uses a slightly modified version of the design of the current AirPods, which sit just outside the ear canal and are not sealed inside.

The angled stems use the pressure-sensitive controls on the AirPods Pro, not the motion-sensitive controls on the AirPods.

The name: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro Lite or AirPods +

Guessing the name of Apple for its new products can be almost as fun as guessing what they will do and how much they will cost. At this point in the company’s history, some name trends are evident. Apple likes to give its iPhone and iPad names names that use numbers, words, and letters, such as: B. iPhone 11, iPad Pro and iPhone SE. The same is not true for other products like Apple TV, iMac, MacBook, etc., which have avoided numbers to indicate how new they are.

Given this pattern, we think it’s unlikely that the AirPods 3 will actually be called the AirPods 3. Many have speculated that because of their similarity to the AirPods Pro, they could be referred to as the AirPods Pro Lite from a design perspective. But “Pro Lite” feels uncomfortable. How can something be both “Pro” and “Lite”? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

We think it is much more likely that Apple will either simply regard its next AirPods as a generation update – hence “AirPods 3rd Generation” – or use the “Plus” of Apple TV + and thus AirPods +.

If these new earbuds are between the existing AirPods and the AirPods Pro in terms of features and / or price, and Apple in particular decides to keep all three in the lineup, it would make a lot of sense to call them AirPods +.

Better sound

If the AirPods 3 use a hybrid design that merges the AirPods with the AirPods Pro, they will automatically provide better sound quality than the existing AirPods. A fully sealed ear canal means the sound they create can’t escape and competing outside noise can’t get in – or at least not nearly as much as the current open-air design of AirPods.

In fact, proper noise-isolating design can be so effective at blocking unwanted noise that often you won’t feel the need for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which is one of the AirPods Pro’s best-selling features. Jabras Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t both have a noise isolating design and great sound quality – although Jabra has just updated both models with ANC.

However, if the photos from 52Audio are correct, the AirPods 3 may offer only minor improvements in sound quality.

Some noise cancellation

While ANC is typically associated with sealed ear canal designs, this is slowly changing. Samsung introduced the feature on its Galaxy Buds Live that doesn’t get into the ear canal. Granted, Samsung’s efforts in this area haven’t proven particularly successful, but that doesn’t mean Apple will face similar problems.

It should be noted that the AirPods Pro are still some of the best ANC earbuds we’ve ever tested. Apple clearly knows a thing or two about how to do ANC well.

However, the report by The Elec, which quotes a Korean vendor who claims to be part of the chipset hardware for the next AirPods, says these new earbuds have no noise cancellation whatsoever.

Bone conduction?

AppleInsider discovered an Apple patent for bone conduction audio, which led to speculation that Apple might use this technology in a future AirPods design.

Bone conduction audio bypasses the outer ear and ear canal and feeds sound into our inner ear by vibrating bone material in our skulls. It’s been found to be effective when people want to maintain a high level of awareness of the outside world (e.g. when working near hazards like vehicle traffic) or simply don’t want to have objects in their ears.

We think the AirPods 3 are very unlikely to use bone conduction, but there’s a chance we could see this audio technology in conjunction with another rumored Apple product: Apple Glass.

Transparency mode

Apple AirPods Pro

However, if you create a really good seal in the inner ear, there is a risk that too much sound will be faded out. Because of this, the AirPods 3 are likely to borrow another AirPods Pro feature: transparency mode. The built-in microphones are used to bring a certain amount of ambient noise into your ears. This is a boon to security, especially in busy environments. However, it can also give you better call quality by hearing your own voice more clearly.

Transparency mode works very well on the AirPods Pro – it’s arguably one of their best features.


It can be difficult to guess Apple about the price, but we already know two things: the AirPods Pro are $ 249, and the AirPods are $ 159 if you buy the model without wireless charging. Hence, any AirPods model that is said to be between these two models in terms of features must also be between them in terms of price.

We suspect the AirPods will cost $ 3,199 – the current cost of a range of Wireless Charging AirPods. Coincidentally, this is exactly the price that the Korean supplier who spoke to The Elec was predicting. He stated that the price will be “20% lower” than the AirPods Pro. What happens to the existing AirPods? Apple will keep it at $ 159, but now you get the wireless charging case at that price.

If Apple decides to just update the base AirPods instead of creating a new product, prices will likely stay exactly where they are.

Release date

All sources seem to agree so far that Apple’s new earbuds will appear in 2021. Kuo, whose records are usually excellent in this regard, claims the AirPods 3 will arrive in the first half of 2021, along with The Elec’s predicted timing.

Would you like more news, reviews, guides, and features from Digital Trends? Follow us on Apple News, Google News and Flipboard.

Editor’s recommendations

Comments are closed.