Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021, 14:49 Hardware

Audio News: The New AirPods 3 & Apple Music Voice Plan

Countless reports have already indicated that Apple had finished developing the AirPods 3 as early as spring. However, the prevailing suspicion was that Apple was waiting for the opportune time to release the product to the public. Whether true or not, the moment we Apple audiophiles have long been waiting for has finally arrived. Shipping for the new AirPods with numerous improvements will begin shortly. Although there have been some changes to the product, it is still functionally different from the more expensive AirPods series (Pro and Max). The product's official name is "AirPods", although media outlets have referred to the product as the AirPods 3 (third generation) to avoid confusion.

The AirPods 3 – Richer Sound & New Design
Five years ago, Apple introduced the first generation of AirPods to the market. The product quickly became the sensational success that Apple hopes to capitalize on with the AirPods 3. The model shown yesterday differs from its predecessors visually, possessing a smaller stem. Silicon parts are also no longer in use.

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Noise-cancelling features such as suppression of sounds from the external environment will, however, remain a feature exclusive to the premium tier models of AirPods, such as the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. The final design is also reminiscent of some of the leaks released in advance, and the product's case is more similar in form to the AirPods Pro than its predecessors'. Also arriving with the new AirPods is 3D audio, which previously only the more expensive models supported. With the help of the latest technology, the new earphones should provide even thicker bass and more precise high-frequency tones. The AirPods 3 are also sweat-resistant, and Apple promises that they come with an adaptive equalizer. One charge equals approximately six hours of uninterrupted playback, and with the occasional interruption to charge the earphones via the case – 30 hours. The charging process now occurs inductively via Apple's MagSafe technology.



Apple Music Voice Plan
Apple's announcement of the "Apple Music Voice Plan" was a little less straightforward and slightly harder to understand than the company's announcement of the AirPods 3. Apple briefly explained that the service would allow users to play any song on Apple Music via their voices. However, the service is a stripped-down version of Apple Music with slightly fewer offers, but at a lesser price. That means no 3D audio, no lossless audio quality, and no live lyrics or music videos.



Pricing & Availability
The AirPods 3 cost US$179 on the Apple Online Store. However, the previous generation is still available for US$50 less. Preorders are still possible after the end of yesterday's "Unleashed" Apple event (where the new MacBook Pro was released). The "Apple Music Voice" plan costs US$4.99 a month, making the service perhaps attractive to students. However, when most streaming services, including Cupertino's very own "Apple Music", only require a subscription of US$9.99 and come with more features, it's a hard sell.

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