Apple AirPods get a host of new upgrades at WWDC – but where are the AirPods 3?

airpods pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced a host of new upgrades for its range of AirPods wireless earbuds and headphones, alongside the launch of iOS 15 at the company's annual WWDC keynote. 

First up, is Conversation Boost, which is designed to help you hear in face-to-face conversations, allowing the AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max to reduce ambient noise. AirPods will also be able to announce notifications with Siri, thanks to an update coming with iOS 15, which builds on the earbuds' ability to announce your messages. No more digging your phone out of your pocket to analyze every ding, buzz, and alert.

Another new feature, which is coming to both the AirPods Pro and the over-ear AirPods Max, is integration with Apple's Find My feature. 

Using Bluetooth to broadcast their location, your AirPods will create a chirping sound – whether they're inside their case or note, allowing you to find them if you're close by. If you've left your AirPods further afield, you'll be able to see how close you are to your AirPods using a new Proximity View. 

And, to prevent you from losing your AirPods in the first place, there's a new Separation Alert feature, which tells you if you've left your earbuds or headphones behind. It's certainly a welcome feature, as we all know too well how easy it is to misplace a pair of true wireless earbuds.

What about the AirPods 3?

With these new announcements, it doesn't look like the rumored AirPods 3 will materialize at WWDC 2021. 

According to Bloomberg, the AirPods 3 are currently in development, and that we can expect the AirPods to be announced before the end of 2021 – but it looks like hoping for a June 7 release date was perhaps a little premature. 

After all we've heard that the AirPods 3 won't start rolling off production lines until Q3 2021, which could mean they'll launch alongside the iPhone 13 range during the usual release window for Apple phones (around September). 

The new info comes courtesy of noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who asserted that the company will start producing new AirPods models in the ‘third calendar quarter of 2021,’ according to an investor report seen by AppleInsider.

The Apple AirPods 3 are rumored to be launching with an all-new design, that takes its cues from the AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and silicone eartips. It has also been suggested that the AirPods 3 will come with fitness features thanks to a built-in accelerometer, as well as support for Spatial Audio.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.