Apple needs to be bold with the AirPods Pro 3 if it wants me to contemplate replacing my old ones

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 are among the best true wireless earbuds that you can pair with your iPhone, iPad, and more. Offering vastly improved noise-cancellation and adaptive audio, there’s a lot to like about these small but mighty buds.

Having said that, AirPods Pro 2 aren't perfect. While a strong package overall, there are a few ways they could be improved so that the AirPods Pro 3 make an even bigger impression when they are (presumably) released in 2024. With this in mind, here are three suggestions that could tempt you to upgrade once they're available.

Color options

AirPods Max in different colors

(Image credit: Floating Pixels)

The Arctic White color scheme has been a staple of Apple products for decades now – as far back as the first iPods from 2001 and 2002. So iconic were the little white headphones and their cables, that they were easily identifiable for street robbers looking for an easy score. More than two decades on, the color may have been adopted by other manufacturers, but Apple continues its strong association with that color.

Only, now that white is no longer the statement that it was back in the early 2000s, consumers are interested in being able to express themselves a little more. After all, iPhones have come in a variety of colors for years, and so too, do the AirPods Max. Interestingly, rival earbuds such as Google’s Pixel Buds also offer a choice of colors. 

Would it be unreasonable to ask Apple to consider throwing a few more colors into the mix for the AirPods Pro 3? We think not.

Customizable Adaptive Audio

AirPods with Adaptive Audio

(Image credit: Apple)

When Adaptive Audio was released in iOS 17, it fixed a number of the major flaws in the AirPods Pro 2. Users can now feel confident that if they start a conversation with someone, their AirPods will allow them to do so automatically. No more pausing your podcast, or stopping your soundtrack before you start speaking. It’s a huge improvement.

The question is, could Apple offer even more in 2024? For example, might the AirPods Pro 3 allow users to customize the levels of noise cancellation that Adaptive Audio offers? Could they, for instance, allow you to have a range of noise-cancellation presets? Or a slider that lets you adjust the levels to suit your needs?

While Adaptive Audio is a massive step forward, giving users greater control over their audio experience would be another big step in the right direction. This could be particularly useful for people with hearing loss, who may have specific frequencies that they struggle with, which the AirPods could then help support.

Health-tracking features

The Apple Noise apps

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Finally, if Apple wants to make a big impression with the AirPods Pro 3, then including health tracking features would be a very exciting way to go about it.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is already an excellent health-tracking device, and we know this is an area Apple has invested heavily in over the years. But it would be great to see the AirPods Pro 3 adding some health tracking features of their own, to provide an even more comprehensive experience.

For example, could the AirPods Pro 3 offer a hearing test for users, allowing people to identify potential hearing issues earlier in life? According to, 48 million Americans have hearing loss, and it’s the third most common health condition in older adults. One study has shown a link between hearing loss and dementia. Being able to quickly and easily take a hearing test could help millions of people improve their hearing health.

Additionally, if the AirPods Pro 3 could measure your body temperature via your ear canal, this could help with fertility tracking, or even help to identify if someone is getting ill. It may then allow users to adjust their activity pattern before they start feeling symptoms, for example, by reducing the amount of exercise they are doing to avoid overloading their body when it’s already under strain. 

There are already rumors out there suggesting that Apple might be working on at least some of these. Back in July, Mark Gurman reported in his Bloomberg newsletter that Apple is working on these health-tracking additions for the AirPods – whether or not they are coming to the AirPods Pro 3 though, is unclear. But changing the AirPods from an audio device to a multi-purpose tool would be a huge step forward, and make them an even more compelling proposition.

Given the big improvements from the AirPods Pro to the AirPods Pro 2, we’re optimistic that, in 2024, Apple is going to give us a similarly impressive jump in its offering. These are just a few suggestions that we think would be a step in the right direction.


Steven Shaw is a full-time freelancer, but before he changed his career at the start of 2021, he was in the retail industry, leading teams to achieve goals in selling technology products, such as smartphones, tablets, and more.

Graduating from the University of Cambridge with a Masters in Medieval History, he's always had a passion for the topic, alongside technology, and many Simpsons quotes.

You'll find him on iMore offering his knowledge of Macs, iPads, macOS, iOS, and more.

  • simonmann
    Noise cancelation needs to completely and utterly cancel noise, not just turn down the volume. I dont want to ehar other people talking on the bus etc.