Apple released a new generation of AirPods series in October 2021 – AirPods 3 true wireless earphones. In terms of appearance design, the MagSafe charging case is adopted, and the overall volume is smaller and lighter. The earbuds adopts a new contour design, the headset stem is shorter, and the in-ear curve of the body is round and full, which can better fit the auricle and provide a more comfortable wearing effect.

In terms of functional configuration, it is equipped with Apple’s customized high-amplitude drive unit, high dynamic range amplifier, H1 chip and multi-sensor. Support adaptive EQ, spatial audio for dynamic head tracking, pressure-sensitive control, clearer voice calls and voice wake-up functions. It is also equipped with a MagSafe charging case, which supports wireless charging and provides longer battery life.

So far, Apple TWS earbuds has released four generations of AirPod, AirPods 2, AirPods Pro and AirPods 3. Among them, the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 currently on sale have attracted more attention from consumers. According to the teardown report, 52audio will analyze the difference between the two products in detail.

Apple AirPods 3 Teardown

01/ Product appearance

Package

Both Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 product boxes adopt a family-style minimalist design style, with a white background, and only the appearance rendering of earbuds is displayed on the front.

Product parameter information on the box:

AirPods Pro wireless earphones: Models: A2083, A2084. Product name: charging case/power bank, model: A2190, input: 5V⎓1A, output: 5V⎓1A, manufacturer: This product is authorized by Apple Inc., USA, distributor: Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., China manufacture.

AirPods 3 wireless earphones: Models: A2564, A2565. Product Name: charging case/ Power Bank, Model: A2566, Input: 5V⎓1A, Output: 5V⎓1A, Manufacturer: This product is authorized by Apple Inc., Distributor: Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., Vietnam manufacture.

Charging Case Appearance

Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 both use MagSafe charging case. The AirPods 3 are relatively narrower in width and smaller in size. The texture is treated with piano paint process, the touch is smooth and round, but it is prone to scratches. Functionally, they all use the Lightning interface input power supply and support magnetic wireless charging.

Earbuds Appearance

Apple AirPods Pro earbuds feature a handle-like in-ear design with eartips for better ANC functionality. The AirPods 3 have a handle-like semi-in-ear design. The earphone head is not as full as AirPods Pro, it is relatively thinner, and it fits more closely with the auricle.

Product Weight

The total weight of Apple AirPods Pro is about 56.7g, and the weight of the two earbuds is about 10.7g. The total weight of AirPods 3 is about 46.6g. Compared with the AirPods Pro, the two earbuds have no eartips and weigh only 8.6g, providing a comfortable and light wearing experience.


02/ Internal structure design

In terms of the internal structure of Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3, the modularity of the two products has been very perfect. The components of the charging case are connected through BTB connectors, and the internal components of the earbud are completely connected to an FPC cable in parallel. On the whole, AirPods 3 is relatively more streamlined, the internal circuit is clear at a glance, and it is more modular and integrated.


03/ Earphone main configuration

Master Chip

Apple’s H1 packaging system is used for the first time on Apple’s AirPods Pro, which integrates a variety of different components and chips with different functions in one package. The highly integrated system greatly reduces the space occupancy rate inside the earbud, leaving more room to install a larger battery or add other hardware devices.

On the AirPods 3, the new Apple H1 packaging system reduces the overall size by nearly half, and the shape is more regular. The substantial reduction in size means that a higher integration level and process technology are adopted, resulting in better performance and power consumption. The shape is more regular so that it can make better use of the interior space for layout.

Earphone Battery

The built-in batteries of earbuds all use VARTA steel shell button batteries. The built-in battery capacity of Apple AirPods Pro is 0.16Wh, and the battery capacity of AirPods 3 is 0.13Wh. The positive and negative electrodes of the battery and the cable adopt a customized plug-in connector scheme, which improves the assembly efficiency during the production process, and also greatly facilitates the later maintenance and replacement of the battery.

Microphone

Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 are equipped with 3 MEMS microphone units, the difference lies in the changes in location and function. The AirPods Pro inward-facing microphone is located on the sound outlet dust mesh cover for adaptive equalization and ANC function to pick up the sound inside the ear canal. The other two are located at the top and bottom of the header stem, which are used for voice calls, noise cancelling, and voice control.

AirPods 3 are located on the front cavity, rear cavity and tail plug of the earbud respectively. The front-cavity inward-facing microphone is used for adaptive equalization to detect the audio quality of the listening content and adjust the low-frequency and mid-frequency sound ranges. The other two microphones are used for voice calls, noise cancelling, voice control and other functions.

Speaker

Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 are equipped with Apple’s customized high-amplitude drive unit, which can present rich and delicate sound quality. The bass is deep and rich, and the treble is crisp and pure.

In-ear Detection Sensor

Apple AirPods Pro uses an optical sensor, which has a more accurate detection effect, but it is prone to misjudgment due to the sensor being blocked. AirPods 3 uses a skin recognition sensor for the first time, which avoids opening holes on the earbud, and also prevents the misjudgment that the light sense is blocked when it is placed in a pocket. The detection speed is also not significantly different from that of optical sensors.

Pressure Sensor

Both Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 use pressure-sensitive buttons to control various functions by sensing the pressure. In terms of internal configuration, the two use different sensor solutions. AirPods 3 is in the form of a patch, which can better utilize the internal space of the headset stem.


04/ The main configuration of charging case

Power Management Chip

In terms of charging case power management, Apple AirPods Pro uses TI BQ25116A charging management IC. AirPods 3 uses the NXP 610A3B charging IC.

Wireless Charging Receiver Chip

Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 wireless charging both use BROADCOM 59356A2KUBG wireless charging receiver chip.

MCU

Apple AirPods Pro uses ST STM32L476MGY6 ultra-low-power single-chip microcomputer + floating-point operation unit. AirPods 3 is equipped with ST STM32L496WGY6P ultra-low power Arm Cortex-M4 32 MCU+FPU.

Charging Case Battery

Apple AirPods Pro uses two batteries in parallel, battery capacity: 519mAh/1.98Wh, rated voltage: 3.81V, charging limit voltage: 4.35V, from Sunwoda.

Apple AirPods 3 uses a single battery solution, battery capacity: 345mAh/1.327Wh, rated voltage: 3.85V, charging limit voltage: 4.45V, from DESAY.


05/ Summary

Through teardown comparison, we can see that Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 both follow the family-style design style in terms of appearance design. The AirPods 3 MagSafe charging case is smaller in size. The earbud in-ear curve has been optimized, so that it fits more closely with the auricle. Coupled with the canceled eartips without the ANC function, it brings a very light and comfortable wearing experience.

In terms of internal structure, the modular design of the two products has been very perfect. AirPods 3 is relatively leaner and more modular and integrated. In terms of configuration, the main control chips of the two products are equipped with the Apple H1 packaging system. The new look inside the AirPods 3 is smaller and more regular in shape. The solutions of in-ear detection and pressure-sensing sensors have been changed to provide a better interactive experience.

In the internal solution of the charging case, the built-in battery of AirPods 3 was changed from a dual battery to a single battery, and the capacity was reduced from 519mAh to 345mAh. However, due to the lack of ANC function and lower system power consumption, the comprehensive battery life still reaches 30 hours. The charging IC is replaced by TI BQ25116A with NXP 610A3B. The wireless charging receiver chip adopts Broadcom 59356A2KUBG, and the MCU is replaced by ST STM32L476MGY6 with STM32L496WGY6P.

In general, the biggest difference between the two products is the application of the ANC function. AirPods 3 cancels the ANC function and further optimizes wearing comfort. Therefore, according to individual needs, consumers are required to choose ANC and wearing comfort.​​​​

Source: 52audio


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