Apple’s third-gen AirPods add spatial audio and water resistance

On Monday, Apple introduced its redesigned third-generation AirPods, which include key features like spatial audio with head tracking and, for the first time, sweat and water resistance. However, an active noise filter is still absent from the AirPod’s arsenal.

The new AirPods include a redesigned, more curved form, a shorter stem, and squeezable “force sensors” for controlling your music, and will be available starting October 26 for $179 (the second-gen AirPods will be $30 cheaper).

Apple claims that a new low-distortion driver will offer “powerful” bass and “crisp” high frequencies and that the microphone will have an acoustic mesh covering to assist reduce wind noise.

Even better, the updated AirPods now feature an IPX4 grade for water splash protection from any direction, making them suitable for a rainy jog. The AirPods Pro has the same IP rating as the first- and second-generation AirPods, which did not have an official IP rating.AirPods

While the third-generation AirPods have a somewhat different appearance than their predecessors, they still have an open-ear design and no active noise cancellation. You’ll need to shell out for the AirPods Pro if you want noise-canceling AirPods with a tight seal (or AirPods Max, if you want cans rather than earbuds). In the meantime, for $150, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds2 features active noise canceling.

However, spatial audio with head-tracking capability will be added to the new AirPods, a feature that was previously only available on the AirPods Pro and Max. Spatial audio creates a three-dimensional soundstage, which is suitable for music tracks that use Dolby Atmos.

Adaptive EQ, a function designed to alter the audio in real-time based on the fit of the earphones, is also coming to the third-generation AirPods. That’s a function that was previously only accessible on the AirPods Pro and Max.

Apple claims that the new AirPods will last six hours, an hour more than the previous generation and that a five-minute charge will provide nearly an hour of use. The charging case, which is now MagSafe compatible, can charge the AirPods four times, giving them a total battery life of up to 30 hours.

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