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Apple AirPods 3 set to launch today and could be more expensive than AirPods 2

Apple
(Image credit: Future)

Great news, AirPods fans: a new report from trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that Apple will be unveiling the new generation of AirPods as part of today's confirmed iPhone 13 event. The hotly-anticipated AirPods 3 are, essentially, the new iteration of Apple’s second-gen AirPods, which were released in March 2019.

But here's the rub: as first noted by 9to5Mac, Kuo says that Apple will keep selling the older 2019 AirPods when the new models ship. This, he suggests, either means that the AirPods 3 will be sold at a higher price point – the current models start at £159 / $159 / AU$249 for the earbuds without the wireless charging case or £249 / $249 / AU$319 with it – or that AirPods 2 will see a price drop alongside the AirPods 3 release, meaning that the newest models could then adopt the current AirPods 2 price point. 

Kuo is careful with his predictions though, and is clearly hedging his bets on which scenario is most likely. Instead, he reiterates that AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 will be sold simultaneously as AirPods 2 production continues.

Based on everything we know so far, the new AirPods 3 are expected to feature a new design that resembles the shape of the current Apple AirPods Pro, notably featuring shorter stems on the earbuds themselves.

The big difference is that the AirPods 3 are not expected to feature active noise cancellation features – that will remain the preserve of the AirPods Pro and Apple AirPods Max

Currently, the Cupertino giant's second-generation AirPods are sold in two models: with and without the Qi wireless charging case. We expect Apple to offer the AirPods 3 with only one case this time – a wireless one. Welcome to your wireless future.

Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro 2 are not expected to launch at today's Apple Event and, according to Kuo, will arrive next year. 

Apple’s annual fall media event, which kicks off at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST / 3am AEST today, Tuesday 14th September, is expected to give us our first official look at the Apple iPhone 13 lineup and the new Apple Watch Series 7 too. Stay tuned to What Hi-Fi? for all the news as the event unfolds... 

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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.