‘AirPods 3’ could bring big design changes this year

By

AirPods 2 with box on desk
Enjoy this discount while you can!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple’s third-generation AirPods could bring big internal design changes, according to a new report.

Supply chain sources claim Apple will switch to system-in-package (SiP) technology that frees up space inside each bud. The move could allow other components to be squeezed inside the tiny wireless headphones.

Apple rolled out its second-generation AirPods in late March. The new models promise better battery life, “Hey Siri” support, and even faster connectivity for the same $159 price. But they’re not drastically different from their predecessors.

The next AirPods upgrade could bring bigger changes later this year.

AirPods 3: Big changes under the hood?

Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, Digitimes reports that “AirPods 3” could feature “a brand-new internal design adopting SiP (system in package) technology instead of rigid-flex board combination.”

The change could allow Apple to free up space inside each AirPod to allow for new components. A SiP also could improve battery life even further by marrying AirPods’ chips even more closely. And the tech could cut down on component costs and production times.

The sources don’t offer a reason for the move. There’s no mention of any external design changes, either. However, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously predicted that at least one set of 2019 AirPods will ship with a new form factor.

The third-generation upgrade may also bring noise-cancellation technology.

AirPods 2 aren’t going anywhere

This doesn’t mean Apple’s second-generation AirPods will suffer a premature death. The sources indicate this year’s model will stick around — with a cheaper price tag.

These claims are backed up by increased orders for rigid-flex PCBs from Unitech Printed Circuit Board, the supplier of boards for second-generation AirPods. The company expects “robust demand” for its components into 2020, and is moving to expand its production capacity by 25% to 30% this year.