Alleged Leaked Image Claims to Show Third-Generation AirPods and Case
A new image claims to offer our first real world look at Apple's next-generation AirPods. The image, shared by 52audio, showcases both AirPods and the charging case for what the site claims to be the third iteration of the wireless earbuds.
52audio has in the past shared images claiming to showcase different parts of the third-generation AirPods. Most notably, the site in November shared an x-ray image claiming to be the new AirPods, however, it was later proven to be faked and simply a compressed x-ray image of the current-generation AirPods Pro.
The image shared today, however, is in line with what we know so far about the third-gen AirPods. Bloomberg has reported that the new AirPods will take design cues from the AirPods Pro by having a smaller stem and silicone ear tips, but they will reportedly lack high-end features such as Active Noise Cancelation.
According to 52audio and a provided caption of the leaked image, the new AirPods will feature a pressure-relieving system, the same technology featured in the AirPods Pro. The system is meant to equalize pressure within your ear to remove any discomfort from using the AirPods for a prolonged period of time. Based on the image, the charging case will be less rectangular than the case that comes with the AirPods Pro, and more in keeping with the original AirPods case, but with the addition of an LED charging indicator on the front.
The third-generation AirPods may also be borrowing touch controls from the AirPods Pro. According to accompanying 3D renders from 52audio, each new earbud will feature touch control surfaces, instead of the single and double-tap controls on the current AirPods (first and second generation).
The new AirPods are expected to offer the same five hours of continuous audio playback as the second-generation AirPods, according to the latest report. This differs from details provided earlier by Bloomberg, however, which claims that Apple is looking to improve battery life on the new model beyond the current five hours of audio playback. Additionally, the new report claims that Spatial Audio support, a feature currently exclusive to the AirPods Pro, is "highly" probable for the new AirPods.
Apple analysts Ming-Chi Kuo said in November that mass production for the new AirPods will take place in the first half of the year. According to 52audio, the new AirPods are set to debut at the beginning of March. This week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman poured cold water on speculation that Apple will hold an event on March 16. He did however leave the door open for an event on another date in March.
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a mixed track record when it comes to reporting on Apple's plans, recently reported that an event on March 16 (now unlikely) will headline AirTags and new iPads. Apple released the AirPods Pro via a press release in 2019, so it remains to be seen how and when Apple will release the next-generation AirPods.