Alongside new MacBook Pro models with mega-fast processors and inexplicable notches, Apple announced the long-awaited AirPods 3 at its event on 18 October 2021. They're a clear upgrade on the previous models from 2019, offering superior (claimed) battery performance, an updated design and support for Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ. But will you be able to get your hands on a pair?
New Apple products - and especially ones as high-profile as the third-gen AirPods - tend to be snapped up almost as soon as they appear, and cost a lot if you buy direct from Apple. Luckily we're here to guide you through the buying process and reveal where the AirPods are in stock, and where they're cheapest.
For broader advice about Apple's headphone line-up, check our roundup of the best AirPods deals.
When will the new AirPods be released?
As of Tuesday 26 October the AirPods 3 are now officially on sale directly from Apple and other retailers. The AirPods will also start shipping out to those who have already pre-ordered.
How much do the new AirPods cost?
The third-gen AirPods have an RRP of £169 / $179 / AU$279.
Apple hasn't discontinued any of its existing AirPod models with the launch of the new pair, so they sit alongside the second-gen AirPods from 2019 and the AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro on the Apple store. Here's the full pricing:
See our comparison of the AirPods 3 to the AirPods 2.
How to get a good AirPods 3 deal
The RRP given above is how much the AirPods 3 will cost if you buy direct from Apple, and most other retailers will sell at or close to that price in the short term.
A likely exception is KRCS, which routinely knocks a small amount off the RRP on even brand-new Apple products. It currently doesn't have a discount on the new pair, however.
After the initial flurry of interest dies down retailers will start to wheel out more significant discounts, so it's worth waiting a month or two if you can - not least because Black Friday is around the corner.
Just bear in mind that stock issues may then come into play. Pre-Christmas demand is likely to be high, and those who urgently need AirPods for a festive gift may be better advised to grab a pair while they can.
The real bargains will appear in early 2022 - but can you wait that long?
Where to buy the new AirPods (2021)
The retailers below are all offering the AirPods 3 right now. If they don't just yet (we've indicated which ones), we expect they should very soon. Check back frequently if your favourite retailer isn't offering the AirPods 3 just yet.
Live AirPods 3 price tracker
You'll be able to keep an eye on the best prices across a wide range of retailers in our automated table, embedded below. At time of writing there are only a couple of options here, but this will come into its own after 26 October, when the majority of retailers start to sell the new AirPods.