Rumor: 'AirPods 3' to launch alongside 'Apple Music HiFi' on May 18

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 14
A highly suspect rumor claims Apple is set to unveil a revamped entry-level AirPods product on May 18, and a lossless Apple Music streaming tier could be in tow.

AirPods 3


Without citing sources, YouTuber Luke Miani in a tweet on Thursday claims Apple's third-generation AirPods will debut next Tuesday. In a statement to AppleTrack, he added that the earbuds could launch alongside a so-called "Apple Music HiFi" service. Both products will reportedly be announced in a press release.

Miani has no track record in predicting Apple releases, though his YouTube channel does cover the company and rumors surrounding future products. AppleTrack previously nailed AirPods Max's launch date a day before the headphones were revealed.

Rumblings that Apple will soon debut a next-generation AirPods device, tentatively dubbed AirPods 3, have grown to a low din in recent weeks.

Industry analysts began to offer tidbits of information regarding the upcoming AirPods model nearly a year ago and parts leaks of the rumored device have been floating around the web since December. Images of supposedly leaked AirPods 3 chassis and charging case parts surfaced online in March and April, revealing a design that borrows heavily from Apple's AirPods Pro.

As for the new Apple Music tier, a report earlier in May claimed a lossless streaming option would arrive within weeks. Targeting similar offerings from Spotify and Tidal, the high-fidelity Apple Music service is rumored to cost $9.99 per month.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Hoping the hi-fi rumor is true.
    williamlondongregoriusm
  • Reply 2 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,409member
    I wish Apple had music events for these announcements. With Beats and musicians.
    gregoriusm
  • Reply 3 of 31
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,006member
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    ionicle
  • Reply 4 of 31
    fred1fred1 Posts: 804member
    No track record (for a few more days) is better than a bad track record, like Prosser. 
  • Reply 5 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

  • Reply 6 of 31
    harry wildharry wild Posts: 751member

    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    Any headphone or earbud over $75 will play lossless music!
  • Reply 7 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member

    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    Any headphone or earbud over $75 will play lossless music!
    I don't understand your comment because I never said they won't. Please elaborate. 
    Beats
  • Reply 8 of 31
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,281member
    thedba said:
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs...

    Perhaps you are confusing lossless and high res. My impression of the rumors is that this would be the former, not the latter. You don't need fancy DACs for that. Though, you are closer to the mark about (and I'm paraphrasing here) needing a good amp and speakers (or headphones) to appreciate the difference.

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    edited May 14 argonaut
  • Reply 9 of 31
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,186member
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"
    beowulfschmidtmuthuk_vanalingamargonautthedbaBeats
  • Reply 10 of 31
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,281member
    crowley said:
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"
    I mentioned this on another thread on the topic, but there are settings that allow your streaming app to fall back to low(er) bitrate lossy audio when you're not on WiFi. You'll also be able to download your favorite tracks / playlists to your device beforehand so you don't use any data.

    I can stream my lossless audio library via Plex natively, and my data usage is just fine. I just make sure I'm on WiFi, or I download what I want to listen to while I am. For everything else, there's Spotify at 96 / 160 / 320 kb/s.
    muthuk_vanalingamargonaut
  • Reply 11 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    rob55 said:
    thedba said:
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs...

    Perhaps you are confusing lossless and high res. My impression of the rumors is that this would be the former, not the latter. You don't need fancy DACs for that. Though, you are closer to the mark about (and I'm paraphrasing here) needing a good amp and speakers (or headphones) to appreciate the difference.

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    When you say Hi Res, are you talking about 24bit 96kHz to 384kHz sampled music?
    Because if you are then we're entering the voodoo/black magic world of certain audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference. 

    And by the way, I totally agree with the following statement.
    crowley said:
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"

  • Reply 12 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    rob55 said:
    crowley said:
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"
    I mentioned this on another thread on the topic, but there are settings that allow your streaming app to fall back to low(er) bitrate lossy audio when you're not on WiFi. You'll also be able to download your favorite tracks / playlists to your device beforehand so you don't use any data.

    I can stream my lossless audio library via Plex natively, and my data usage is just fine. I just make sure I'm on WiFi, or I download what I want to listen to while I am. For everything else, there's Spotify at 96 / 160 / 320 kb/s.
    It's cool if the default is AAC and the user flicks a switch to get all the lossless they desire. 
    Beats
  • Reply 13 of 31
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    Side-stepping the perennial back-and-forth about what increments of sound quality people can or can't hear, I predict the real game-changer is going to be surround sound formats that can come with the HiFi tier. Up until now, surround sound has been a small niche market that requires special hardware as well as expensive special edition physical media. Those added requirements have always prevented surround sound music from ever really taking off, going all the way back to quad systems in the '70s.

    Now, all the millions of people who own a relatively recent iPhone and AirPods Pro will instantly be able to listen to surround audio formats as soon as Apple turns on the HiFi option. Surround sound music will go from an audiophile niche to mainstream in an instant. That will be something that people can listen to and tell the difference, creating an immediate "wow" factor. (Add to that all the people who already have an AppleTV box tied to a surround sound system in their den. Wow again.)  Amazon and Tidal have already ventured into this arena, but with abysmal implementation, charging extra for the option, and then burying the content in a terrible user interface. It looks likely Apple may include this option in existing subscription deals, and delivering it through the Apple Music app, which is vastly superior to Amazon and Tidal's apps. 
    Beats
  • Reply 14 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    AppleZulu said:
    Side-stepping the perennial back-and-forth about what increments of sound quality people can or can't hear, I predict the real game-changer is going to be surround sound formats that can come with the HiFi tier. Up until now, surround sound has been a small niche market that requires special hardware as well as expensive special edition physical media. Those added requirements have always prevented surround sound music from ever really taking off, going all the way back to quad systems in the '70s.

    Now, all the millions of people who own a relatively recent iPhone and AirPods Pro will instantly be able to listen to surround audio formats as soon as Apple turns on the HiFi option. Surround sound music will go from an audiophile niche to mainstream in an instant. That will be something that people can listen to and tell the difference, creating an immediate "wow" factor. (Add to that all the people who already have an AppleTV box tied to a surround sound system in their den. Wow again.)  Amazon and Tidal have already ventured into this arena, but with abysmal implementation, charging extra for the option, and then burying the content in a terrible user interface. It looks likely Apple may include this option in existing subscription deals, and delivering it through the Apple Music app, which is vastly superior to Amazon and Tidal's apps. 
    When you say surround sound audio do you mean spatial audio? Yeah I can see Apple offering this in  their Apple Music library but would probably only apply to AirPods Pro/Max owners. But again how popular this may turn out to be, depends on how much more Apple may want to charge for this. If on the other hand they just include it without any price hikes in the hopes of selling more AirPods Pro or Max, I'm not so sure it will make that much of a difference.

    Now if you're saying movies, it's hardly niche. 5.1/7.1 systems have been around for a while and now Dolby Atmos systems are becoming more prevalent. And Apple TV+ already supports these formats. 
  • Reply 15 of 31
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,281member
    thedba said:
    rob55 said:
    thedba said:
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs...

    Perhaps you are confusing lossless and high res. My impression of the rumors is that this would be the former, not the latter. You don't need fancy DACs for that. Though, you are closer to the mark about (and I'm paraphrasing here) needing a good amp and speakers (or headphones) to appreciate the difference.

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    When you say Hi Res, are you talking about 24bit 96kHz to 384kHz sampled music?
    Because if you are then we're entering the voodoo/black magic world of certain audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference. 

    And by the way, I totally agree with the following statement.
    crowley said:
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"

    When I say Hi Res, I am referring generally to anything beyond 16bit/44.1k PCM. I totally agree about the voodoo/black magic world that all that entails. Some claim, with the right audiophile equipment, that they can hear the difference, but listening is so subjective.

    YouTuber Rick Beato did a listening test with someone who was Berkley-trained in music production, had purportedly good hearing up to 18.1k, and perfect pitch. In that blind listening test, the subject was able to pick the lossless WAV playback vs. 320k MP3 (if I recall) 60% of the time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgEjI5PZa78

    The thing I disagree with Crowley about is the quintupling of data usage. While technically correct (if you compare the lossless file size to the lossy version), if you're careless enough to stream lossless over cellular, then you deserve to blow through your data. As stated before, there are ways to avoid the data overages.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,281member
    thedba said:
    rob55 said:
    crowley said:
    rob55 said:

    Funny story, I asked a 20-something co-worker if he thought he would be interested in lossless audio if Apple offered it, and he asked, "what's lossless?"
    I hope you responded with 

    "it's when they include all of the sound that you probably can't hear anyway and make your data usage quintuple"
    I mentioned this on another thread on the topic, but there are settings that allow your streaming app to fall back to low(er) bitrate lossy audio when you're not on WiFi. You'll also be able to download your favorite tracks / playlists to your device beforehand so you don't use any data.

    I can stream my lossless audio library via Plex natively, and my data usage is just fine. I just make sure I'm on WiFi, or I download what I want to listen to while I am. For everything else, there's Spotify at 96 / 160 / 320 kb/s.
    It's cool if the default is AAC and the user flicks a switch to get all the lossless they desire. 
    This is totally doable in the Spotify app, and you can make it automatic. Granted, my Spotify Premium subscription is presently still limited to 320kb/s, but when I'm on WiFi, it's streaming their max bitrate. When I jump to cellular (4G/LTE, etc.), I've got it set to halve the bitrate. I can't imagine that Apple wouldn't implement similar configurability.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    thedba said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Side-stepping the perennial back-and-forth about what increments of sound quality people can or can't hear, I predict the real game-changer is going to be surround sound formats that can come with the HiFi tier. Up until now, surround sound has been a small niche market that requires special hardware as well as expensive special edition physical media. Those added requirements have always prevented surround sound music from ever really taking off, going all the way back to quad systems in the '70s.

    Now, all the millions of people who own a relatively recent iPhone and AirPods Pro will instantly be able to listen to surround audio formats as soon as Apple turns on the HiFi option. Surround sound music will go from an audiophile niche to mainstream in an instant. That will be something that people can listen to and tell the difference, creating an immediate "wow" factor. (Add to that all the people who already have an AppleTV box tied to a surround sound system in their den. Wow again.)  Amazon and Tidal have already ventured into this arena, but with abysmal implementation, charging extra for the option, and then burying the content in a terrible user interface. It looks likely Apple may include this option in existing subscription deals, and delivering it through the Apple Music app, which is vastly superior to Amazon and Tidal's apps. 
    When you say surround sound audio do you mean spatial audio? Yeah I can see Apple offering this in  their Apple Music library but would probably only apply to AirPods Pro/Max owners. But again how popular this may turn out to be, depends on how much more Apple may want to charge for this. If on the other hand they just include it without any price hikes in the hopes of selling more AirPods Pro or Max, I'm not so sure it will make that much of a difference.

    Now if you're saying movies, it's hardly niche. 5.1/7.1 systems have been around for a while and now Dolby Atmos systems are becoming more prevalent. And Apple TV+ already supports these formats. 
    I'm referring to music audio mixed in 5.1, 7.1 or Dolby Atmos. You're right that the hardware is already out there to serve the movie market. That's my point. The hardware is already there. 

    In the 70s, you could buy "quadrophonic" vinyl albums mixed in 4-channel surround sound, but you had to also buy a quad-capable turntable and amplifier and four speakers. Not many people bought that stuff, so the format died. You can currently buy deluxe box sets of some classic albums with blu-ray audio mixes in 5.1, 7.1 or Dolby Atmos, but again, you have to have the home theater setup and pay a premium to get the box set presentation. I can tell you, they sound brilliant, but there are a limited number of titles available that take advantage of the format. It's a niche thing, and limits the financial incentive to remix old stuff or mix new stuff in those surround formats. Why go through the effort if only a handful of people will ever hear it? Dolby has nonetheless been pushing hard to get even new things mixed in Atmos, but the delivery of that content is still a mess. Your options are Blu-Ray, Amazon music, or Tidal. Amazon music and Tidal only offer it in their premium tier subscriptions, which cost extra, and their apps are terrible. Additionally, Amazon won't even let you play Atmos-formatted music on your home theater setup, instead only allowing playback on their "Echo Studio" HomePod competitor, which can't actually create surround sound, so that's dumb.

    Apple can deliver these surround sound music options through iPhones/AirPods Pro with spatial audio, and through AppleTV boxes hooked up to home theater surround sound systems. Millions of people already have the hardware. If Apple chooses not to charge extra for this option, it will instantly become a popular thing people seek out. Hearing a music performance all around you is a huge upgrade from plain stereo mixes. With a ready-made audience already in the millions, artists and studios will gladly create the content. This is another occasion where Apple may, by simply implementing something in a better thought-out way, create a huge market for something consumers never even realized they wanted. Why listen to Spotify which only has plain old stereo, or Amazon or Tidal, which charge extra and still make it hard to find the surround content, when 'it just works' in Apple Music?
  • Reply 18 of 31
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,281member
    AppleZulu said:
    Side-stepping the perennial back-and-forth about what increments of sound quality people can or can't hear, I predict the real game-changer is going to be surround sound formats that can come with the HiFi tier. Up until now, surround sound has been a small niche market that requires special hardware as well as expensive special edition physical media. Those added requirements have always prevented surround sound music from ever really taking off, going all the way back to quad systems in the '70s.

    Now, all the millions of people who own a relatively recent iPhone and AirPods Pro will instantly be able to listen to surround audio formats as soon as Apple turns on the HiFi option. Surround sound music will go from an audiophile niche to mainstream in an instant. That will be something that people can listen to and tell the difference, creating an immediate "wow" factor. (Add to that all the people who already have an AppleTV box tied to a surround sound system in their den. Wow again.)  Amazon and Tidal have already ventured into this arena, but with abysmal implementation, charging extra for the option, and then burying the content in a terrible user interface. It looks likely Apple may include this option in existing subscription deals, and delivering it through the Apple Music app, which is vastly superior to Amazon and Tidal's apps. 
    My understanding of how Apple's Spatial Audio works is that it requires multi-channel audio on the input side. This is why it's primarily supported by video streaming apps (like HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, etc.) that have content with existing multi-channel audio. Unless I missed something (my apologies if I did), I don't think Apple going lossless means that their music library / offerings are magically going to become Spatial Audio compatible. If you have information otherwise, I genuinely would like to read / hear about it.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,409member

    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    Any headphone or earbud over $75 will play lossless music!

    I don’t get the joke.

    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  

    I’m sure Apple will introduce a new HomePod. It must have been hard to keep the A8 on the market so long. Hopefully we get an upgraded more “surround sound focused” HomePod with an A12 chip. The chip may be “overkill” in some people’s opinion but Apple will need a newer chip anyway to simplify production. Remember, Apple just released the new Apple TV with A12 so it will be on the market for a while. Apple will most likely add features like FaceID and possibly more audio AI.

    Maybe with A12, Homepods will “talk” to each other. One thing that always bothered me as an audiophile with OCD is that there’s no standard on speaker distance from the TV. How far do your L/R channels sit from the TV for the most accurate sound? 5 feet? Literally next to the TV? I think Apple could fix this for even more detailed audio accuracy. The Homepods will have to “talk” to each other and know where the TV is (FaceID?) to calibrate. I know it’s some OCD crap, but still.

    I wanted themed lights with Homepods but that may be too gimmicky for Apple. Also something called “live filters” with changes the lighting of the room and can place funny effects on people’s faces like masks etc. Again, probably too gimmicky for Apple but imagine what an A12 can do.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    ZeeblerZeebler Posts: 19member
    Nobody can tell the difference between 640 x 480 and 7680 x 4320 content when played on a black and white 12” Zenith TV from 1974. 
    Some people with 8k TV’s think they can see a difference - but it’s just voodoo. 
    There was a test done where videographer’s were shown 640 x 480 video and 8k video on an 8k OLED tv and they were only able to guess the 8k video 60% of the time. 

    It doesn’t matter anyways, because Apple TV will never stream more than 640 x 480 resolution - because nobody can see the difference and 640 x 480 looks awesome! 


    edited May 14
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