With an AirPods Pro-style design and extended battery life, the new Apple AirPods 3 are accompanied by a more affordable Apple Music service only accessible via Siri.
The long-awaited third-generation entry-level AirPods combine the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system. This includes a custom-designed driver and amp, made just for the new AirPods. An inward-facing microphone enables computational audio, with Adaptive EQ to constantly monitor and optimise the sound.
While they lack the noise-cancelling found in the AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro Max, the Apple AirPods 3 (product page) can deliver spatial audio. This includes Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies and TV shows, along with dynamic head tracking which also works in Group FaceTime calls.
They also inherit the AirPods Pro’s force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. A new skin-detect sensor more accurately determines if AirPods are in the ear – as opposed to in a pocket or on a table – and pauses playback when removed.
The AirPods 3 offer the longest battery life of any AirPods at 6 hours (5 hours with spatial audio enabled). The case supports wireless MagSafe charging and provides four additional full charges for a total of 30 hours of playback. They are both water and sweat resistant, with an IPX4 rating for both the earbuds and the charging case.
Meanwhile, the Apple HomePod mini is available in three new colours – yellow, orange and blue – as of November.
Ask and you shall receive
Alongside the AirPods 3, Apple also unveiled its new Apple Music Voice Plan, for $5.99 per month, which can only be accessed via Siri.
Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to the service’s full catalogue of 90 million songs with tens of thousands of playlists. This includes hundreds of brand-new mood and activity playlists, personalised mixes and genre stations, as well as Apple Music Radio.
Users can request music across all of their Siri-enabled devices, including HomePod mini, AirPods, iPhone or any other Apple device, and when using CarPlay.
Subscribers have full playback controls, including unlimited song skipping through Siri. Unlike some cheaper/free streaming music services, users can also request specific albums to play from start to end. The new service does lack Apple Music’s advanced features of Spatial Audio, Lossless Audio, Lyrics and Music Videos.
The Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later this spring in 17 countries and regions, including Australia.