AirPods 3 and Apple Music HiFi rumored to be launching on May 18

Apple AirPods
(Image credit: Moma Okgo /

We've already heard rumors that Apple is planning to add a high-fidelity, lossless tier to its Apple Music streaming service and announce it alongside the launch of the AirPods 3, and now we've got a rumored date for the big day: May 18.

That information comes from YouTuber Luke Miani via AppleTrack. The announcements will apparently happen via a press release rather than one of the prerecorded launch event shows that we've got used to seeing from Apple over the last year.

While this date isn't coming from one of the most well-known tipsters on the Apple scene, it does make sense – rumors around both the AirPods 3 and Apple Music HiFi have been picking up pace in recent weeks, and there's no doubt that Apple would love to take some headlines away from the Google IO 2021 event happening on the same day.

There are more clues that an Apple Music HiFi launch is imminent, too. References to high-fidelity music playback have been spotted in both the iOS 14.6 beta (via 9to5Mac) and more recently in the Apple Music app for Android (via 9to5Google).

Apple itself has also teased the introduction of something new for its music streaming service, with an animated video embedded into the macOS and iOS versions of the app.

Apple Music

(Image credit: Apple)

Added to the Browse section, a 15-second video displays a rotating Apple Music logo, with the background slowly switching from black to white. The video is also accompanied by a "coming soon" message reading: "Get ready - music is about to change forever."

We're no detectives, but that seems like a pretty good hint that a high-fidelity option is on the way for Apple Music.

Something in the Air(Pods)

At the moment it's not clear if the lossless audio plan for Apple Music is going to cost users extra or just get rolled into the existing plan so everyone gets upgraded. Spotify's own HiFi music streaming tier is launching later this year, with pricing yet to be revealed.

A source obtained by AppleInsider does suggest the option could cost an extra $9.99 per user, on top of existing Apple Music subscription costs, but that figure remains speculative.

With services like Tidal and Deezer also offering lossless audio plans for users who really want to hear every note in the best possible quality, it makes sense for Apple to want to catch up – and it would be the perfect opportunity for it to launch the AirPods 3, too.

The next generation of Apple's basic wireless earbuds are now long overdue. We thought they might appear at the Spring Loaded event in March: we got new iPad Pros, new iMacs, new AirTags and a new Apple TV box, but no new AirPods.

From the leaks we've seen so far, the AirPods 3 will come sporting shorter stems (like the AirPods Pro), with a refreshed charging case and detachable silicone eartips in the box. If the latest rumor is correct, we'll know everything on Tuesday.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.