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Apple's AirPods 3 might adopt design of AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is planning a big redesign of its next AirPods.
  • The third-generation AirPods will likely adopt the design of the AirPods Pro.
  • They would adopt the same SiP used in AirPods Pro, allowing for a more compact design.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple's new iteration of AirPods may feature the same compact design of the AirPods Pro.

As reported by AppleInsider:

Apple's next-generation in-ear AirPods product will move to a more complex system-in-package chip solution, replacing surface mount technology used in current versions of the device, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.Compared to SMT technology, SiP systems typically enable manufacturers to pack more components into a smaller space. Apple's AirPods Pro, for example, employs an SiP design with an Apple-designed H1 chip that handles audio, Siri commands, noise-cancelling capabilities and more.

According to the report, Kuo emphasizes that the third-generation AirPods will be redesigned. Whilst this would certainly mean that the AirPods 3 would feature the more compact form factor of the AirPods Pro, technical features, such as noise-canceling, are not mentioned. The SiP technology allows Apple to pack more components into a smaller space, hence the smaller form-factor of the AirPods Pro. Given that the noise-cancellation feature has so far been reserved for the AirPods Pro, it seems unlikely that Apple would expand the feature to its cheaper AirPods, reserving it for the Pro line instead. It could be that the new SiP technology allows for greater battery life, improved audio, or better Siri integration.

Kuo says that they expect suppliers to see component shipments grow between 50 and 100% year-on-year, but that AirPods overall growth in 2021 will slow to just 28%, down on this year's massive 65% growth.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

1 Comment
  • I’m betting ANC comes to the AirPods 3 if their design is so similar to the Pros. If Apple is going with that direction they’re either going to phase out the Pros and just have one solid AirPods like, or they’re going to add some other feature to the Pros that will make them worth buying. Apple has to contend with the fact that Google, Samsung and everybody else is figuring out how to do ANC in a bud and Apple won’t want to have the AirPods passes over because of lack of ANC. I could see them leaving out the spatial audio thing or transparency mode. But again I think those things only cost a dollar or two at the most to manufacture.