Apple’s third-generation AirPods add spatial audio and water resistance


Apple unveiled its redesigned third-generation AirPods on Monday, adding key features like spatial audio with head tracking and, finally, sweat and water resistance. However, active noise cancellation is still missing from the AirPod’s bag of tricks.

Available starting Oct. 26 for $ 179 (second-gen AirPods are getting a $ 30 to $ 129 price drop), the new AirPods have a new, more contoured design, shorter stem, and “force sensors.” squeezable to control your music.

A new low-distortion driver promises to deliver “powerful” bass and “crisp” high frequencies, Apple says, while the microphone has an acoustic mesh cover that should help reduce wind noise.

Even better, the refreshed AirPods now have an IPX4 rating for resistance to splashing water from any direction, which means they should be safe to run in the rain. That’s the same IP rating as the AirPods Pro; the first and second generation AirPods did not have official IP ratings.

Apple airpods 3rd generation lifestyle Apple

Third-generation AirPods will be the first to get a proper IP rating, matching AirPods Pro rated IPX4.

While the third-gen AirPods look slightly different than their predecessors, the buttons themselves still have an open-ear design and there is no active noise cancellation. For noise-canceling AirPods with an airtight seal, you’ll need to go for the AirPods Pro (or AirPods Max, if you want cans instead of headphones). Samsung’s competing Galaxy Buds2 meanwhile offer active noise cancellation for just $ 150.

That said, Apple Will Bring spatial audio with head-tracking support to the new AirPods, a feature previously exclusive to AirPods Pro and Max. Spatial audio enables a three-dimensional soundstage, ideal for Dolby Atmos-enabled music tracks.

Also coming to the third-generation AirPods Adaptive EQ, a feature that is designed to tune audio in real time based on the fit of the headphones. Again, that’s a feature that was only available on AirPods Pro and Max until now.

Apple promises six hours of battery life for the new AirPods, an hour longer than the previous generation, while a five-minute charge should yield about an hour of use. The charging case, which is now MagSafe compatible, can fully charge AirPods four times, for up to 30 hours of total battery life.


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