It feels like only yesterday that Apple released its second-generation AirPods, and already the rumor mill is going into high gear over another version possibly launching later this year.
Will Apple actually go through with it? What would make AirPods 3 worth buying over the still-brand-new AirPods 2?
Maybe noise cancellation would do the trick. Back when Apple released the second-gen AirPods in late March, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple was working on a new, water-resistant model that could filter out noise. While initially slated for later this year, he said a 2020 launch might be more likely.
These AirPods were initially planned to go on sale last year. They’re also working on a future version with noise-cancellation and water resistance. Those were planned for later this year, but would now imagine that’s for 2020.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) March 20, 2019
The current AirPods let in a decent amount of noise, to be sure. If Apple could figure out how to make noise-cancellation work in small earbuds, it would be a nice selling point — and certainly more flashy than the incremental improvements to the AirPods 2.
DigiTimes similarly reported in April that Apple would release noise-cancelling AirPods by the end of 2019. It’s fair to question the report seeing as the same site said Apple’s ill-fated AirPower mat would launch in March, but it’s something.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, has a much stronger history of accurately predicting Apple developments. Around the same time of the DigiTimes report, he predicted Apple would release two new AirPods models as early as the fourth quarter of 2019.
One will apparently be a smaller update that’s similar to what’s available now, while the other will cost more and feature more significant upgrades. They might even look different than the AirPods we have now — possibly to help with noise-cancellation.
It would be a little strange for Apple to update AirPods twice in one calendar year. That said, the ones that came out in March were more of a refresh than a true sequel to the original design.
It’s possible we could hear more about new AirPods at Apple’s iPhone event in September. If not, we may have to wait until early 2020 to hear more.