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AirPods 3 and Apple’s AR glasses could be here sooner than we thought

AirPods 3 rumors abound after clues spotted in iOS 13.2 beta point to a new in-ear design, plus Apple’s AR glasses might get a 2020 release date.

Apple's AirPods have been a runaway success, but a new version with a new design may be close to launching with features like noise cancellation and water resistance. In this week's Apple Core roundup we look at all the latest rumors about the AirPods 3 and as a bonus check on the status of Apple's long-awaited AR glasses.

AirPods 3: Water resistance, noise cancellation and a better fit

We've heard plenty of rumors about the supposed next-generation AirPods (or AirPods 3) throughout 2019. Thanks to a new image spotted in the iOS 13.2 beta by 9to5Mac, we now have a better idea of what the AirPods 3 might look like.

The glyph discovered in the beta shows two wireless earbuds with what looks to be interchangeable tips. Some users have noted that the current AirPods don't sit securely in-ear because of their one-size-fits-all approach. Swappable tips could make them fit better in the ear, plus have the added benefit of blocking out some external noise. The current version AirPods let in a lot of external sound.

After the image was discovered, plenty of designers went to work on renders of what the AirPods 3 might look like. This render from Michael Rieplhuber on Twitter shows a slightly more compact design than the AirPods we have now, featuring interchangeable rubber tips and a larger earbud size.

Another render from Phone Industry is somewhat similar, with a more rounded earbud and shorter stem.

As for noise canceling, the main clues we have come from the same 9to5Mac report that found a reference to something called "focus mode" in internal iOS code. It seems likely that you would be able to turn this mode on or off to activate or deactivate noise cancelling.

To add more credence to the rumors, Brian Roemmele on Twitter posted a link to an Apple USPTO filing from Oct. 1, 2019 called "Earbud stability anchor feature" that appears to show an AirPod with a swappable tip.

Last month, images that appeared on SlashLeaks claimed to show the shell and case of the new AirPods, which look somewhat similar to that image in the iOS 13.2 beta.

The best part about all these rumors? If you're really keen to be ahead of the curve, you can already buy protective silicone cases on Amazon for the AirPods 3.

While the current version AirPods aren't officially IP rated for any sort of water resistance, we've done our own informal water test with the AirPods and found that they are actually a lot more durable than you might think.

Apple's AR glasses ready for 2020 launch?

First reported by CNET's Shara Tibken in August 2018, Apple's AR headset may be inching closer to release. A note from TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says they could arrive in the second quarter of 2020.

We know Apple has been heavily invested in developing ARKit for mobile devices, but the glasses themselves have been a closely-guarded secret. Kuo says the headset would be positioned as an iPhone accessory and it would work first and foremost as a display.

It makes sense that Apple would be taking a wait-and-see approach especially given competitors like Magic Leap, Microsoft and Google have not seen consumers pick them up in big numbers.


The Magic Leap One.

Kuo's note also mentions these glasses are being built with third-party brands, perhaps in a similar way to how Facebook is working with Ray-Ban for its frames code-named Orion.

Also launching this fall is the new version of Snap Spectacles 3. With much more of an AR focus than the previous versions, the groundwork is being laid for a fully augmented glasses future.

iPhone SE 2 and iPad Pro updates

Let's not forget the iPhone SE 2. Oh wait, we're too late. Anyway, according to Kuo, the phone will likely get an update to the new A13 Bionic chip and have the same (or very similar) design as the iPhone 8. It could also be a lot cheaper than the recently released iPhone 11, which starts at $699. Kuo thinks the SE2 could cost $399, which would put it in the same price bracket as the Google Pixel 3A.

As for a new iPad Pro, we may also see it in the same release time frame as the iPhone SE 2 next year. The same report estimates arrival in the first or second quarter of 2020. As MacRumors reports, it may have a rear 3D time-of-flight camera, which may also help with AR. Time of flight sensors can generate detailed depth maps of rooms and objects within them. Phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Huawei P30 Pro use them for scanning 3D objects, or creating better-looking portrait mode photos respectively.