Leaked image claims to show parts of upcoming third generation AirPods

Airpods 3 Leaked Image
Airpods 3 Leaked Image (Image credit: 9to5Mac/MacOtakara/52audio)

What you need to know

  • A leaked image claims to show Apple's upcoming third-generation AirPods headphones.
  • The photo shows what is potentially the upper case and part of the earbud.
  • It matches earlier reports that the new AirPods would be similar to the current AirPods Pro design.

Reported by MacOtakara (via 9to5Mac), 52audio has leaked an image that it claims shows to be the upper part of the case as well as an earbud for the rumored third-generation AirPods.

The earbud looks very similar to the design of Apple's current generation of AirPods Pro, which matches up to an earlier report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. While the leaked photo doesn't show it, the new generation of AirPods are expected to have shorter stems and replaceable ear tips, just like the current AirPods Pro. It will not, however, have higher-end features like noise-cancellation.

The design of the updated entry-level AirPods will be similar to the current AirPods Pro, gaining a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips. Apple is also looking to improve battery life. That model however will not have higher-end AirPods Pro features like noise-cancellation, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

The second-generation AirPods Pro are also anticipated to receive a redesign, eliminating the stem completely in favor of a rounded, ear-filling shape.

For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom. A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user's a ear -- similar to the latest designs from Samsung Electronics Co., Amazon.com Inc. and Google.

In Gurman's report from October, the journalist says that Apple will look to introduce the third generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro in the first half of 2021.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.