AirPods 3 Will Feature SiP Technology, Much Like AirPods Pro — Report

AirPods 3
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AirPods 3
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Photo Credit: Daniel Romero

Apple’s next-generation ‘AirPods 3’ will feature system-in-package chip technology – like the AirPods Pro.

Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shared the prediction via Twitter. The AirPods 3 featuring a SiP chip would replace the surface mount technology (SMT) the current devices use. So what’s the difference, you ask?

SiP chip systems allow manufacturers to pack more components into a smaller space. The AirPods Pro features a SiP design with an Apple H1 chip to handle audio, Siri commands, noise-canceling, and more.

Introducing SiP chip technology to the entry-level AirPods 3 could mean more advanced features. Active noise-canceling is the primary reason to choose the current AirPods Pro over their cheaper counterparts. Bringing that feature to the entry-level AirPods 3 could entice even more people to upgrade.

Kuo says the new AirPods 3 will feature a design closer to the current AirPods Pro.

The move will retire the current design of the entry-level AirPods. The newest AirPods 3 are expected to be released in the first half of 2021. It’s likely the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back that launch from this fall.

AirPods shipments are anticipated to begin slowing in 2021, despite the new models. Kuo predicts a modest 28% year-over-year growth. That’s compared to the 65.1% adoption rate Kuo says the AirPods will experience in 2020. Since their launch, the AirPods have dominated the hearables market.

One driver for that massive growth is Apple dropping wired earbuds from the iPhone 12 box. Users who want a good pair of earbuds will now have to fork over cash for AirPods. Apple is branching out beyond offering just earbuds, though.

Analysts also believe the long-rumored AirPods Studio could launch alongside AirPods 3.

The ‘StudioPods‘ will cost more than AirPods, with many analysts pegging $399 as the likely price. The new headphones will feature an adjustable band and active-noise canceling technology. Rumors suggest both ‘AirPods Studio’ and ‘StudioPods’ could be potential names for the over-the-ear headset.

Rumors suggested the AirPods Studio would launch at WWDC 2020, but that didn’t happen. We’ve heard about Apple’s branded over-the-ear headphones since 2018, so a launch may be imminent. They’ll likely be powered by Apple’s H1 chip that powers the AirPods Pro and PowerBeats Pro.

If Apple wants to maintain the AirPods 3 entry-level point, they’ll likely remain sub-$200. Right now, the basic $159 AirPods price competes well with Samsung, Google, and Amazon’s offerings. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds + are probably the closest competitor worth considering. Google’s Pixel Buds aren’t even in the same category as Apple’s AirPods.