Opinion: AirPods 3 shouldn’t have the AirPods Pro design

Sooner rather than later, rumors suggest that AirPods 3 are going to hit the market. Some rumors imply that the third generation of AirPods will become more “Pro,” at least design-wise. The rumors say that Apple could switch the EarPods form factor, which should fit all ears, to an in-ear approach, as we already have with the AirPods Pro. This could be a great idea, but here’s why it’s likely not.

When they launched in 2016, AirPods were a massive success and they were nearly impossible to find anywhere. AirPods took weeks to be delivered when bought online and when they appeared in stores, in just a matter of hours, they were all gone.

The $159 price point was considered high at the time, but none of the other wireless earbuds could do what AirPods did: instant connection, pair with all your devices using the Apple ID, all-day battery life, and good sound quality.

Sure, many people mocked the “cigarette-ish” design, but up until today, the original AirPods – or the second generation, if you prefer – have the best microphone for calls and meetings. This has proven even more important during the pandemic since we’ve been trapped in Zoom and FaceTime calls.

In 2019, when Apple launched the AirPods Pro, the response was positive. With Active Noise Cancellation and a brand new Transparency Mode, people could enjoy a more immersive sound experience. With a newer design, Apple introduced three types of tips so AirPods Pro could be used by more people, but some users found the in-ear design uncomfortable. This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s not necessarily a good thing if the AirPods 3 go all-in on the AirPods Pro design.

What the rumors say about AirPods 3

AirPods Pro

The AirPods 3 are rumored to have a smaller stem, in-ear design, and redesigned battery case, which means that the AirPods 3 could look pretty much like the AirPods Pro. With a rumored starting price of $199, the new AirPods could ditch the regular charging case and go with only the wireless charging case option.

So what would be the point of buying the Pro model? Rumors say that the AirPods 3 won’t have Active Noise Cancelation or even Transparency Mode, so you would get a more universal fit, but wouldn’t receive the “pro” features.

If you want to learn more about AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 rumors, check out our full roundup right here.

Why Apple should keep the original AirPods design if it launches a newer version

AirPods wireless charging

Not every wireless earbud design will fit every ear, but with two distinct models, Apple gets really close to having a solution for everybody. If it sells two different models, but with the same design, people are going to complain – as they already are.

A poll of 9to5Mac readers in January indicated that 42% of readers prefer the AirPods design compared to 53% who prefer the AirPods Pro.

For example, I don’t have any problem with the original AirPods or the AirPods Pro. I find them both very comfortable, but each one of them has a perfect moment to be used.

AirPods:

  • Calls;
  • Shopping (grocery, drug store, etc);
  • Exercises where I need to listen to my surroundings.

AirPods Pro

  • Airport and airplanes;
  • Exercises that don’t require me to be aware of my surroundings;
  • Enjoying spatial audio with Apple TV+ shows.

Many users can likely relate to those examples and ultimately, both the AirPods and AirPods Pro are great. If Apple insists on moving ahead with the in-ear design of the AirPods 3, here are the two things the company should do to help ease the transition:

  • Improve battery life, as many competitors have six to nine hours of use in a single charge;
  • Taptic controls, like the AirPods Pro, to skip, pause, move forward or backward in a song.

Of course, Apple can always improve the talking experience as well or develop an H1 chip successor, but these two things would incentivize me to upgrade, despite the design change.

For the AirPods Pro design, I feel like (as many people do) that sometimes it is uncomfortable, especially when I have long meetings or FaceTime calls. Active Noise Cancellation makes it feel like I can hear myself talking, but If I turn Transparency Mode on, any exterior noise bothers the other person in the conversation, so I have always to turn the two modes off.

We still have some time until Apple announces the AirPods 3, although how much time is unclear. What do you think? Would you prefer AirPods 3 with the same design, would you buy the second generation again, or would you be happy if AirPods 3 have the same AirPods Pro design? Tell us in the comment section down below!

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