Next-gen AirPods unlikely to arrive until much later this year

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AirPods 2021
A glimpse at the new AirPods?
Photo: 52audio

A new report claims that Apple’s next-gen AirPods won’t arrive until the third quarter of 2021. This backs up a recent report from renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently said that the AirPods 3 are unlikely to launch until Q3 2021.

Prior to this, AirPods 3 had been heavily rumored as being part of Apple’s next product event — originally rumored for March, but then pushed back to April.

In an article published Friday, Digitimes reports that, “supplier ASE Technology is packaging and testing optical sensors” for the new AirPods. Given that this sounds like an early, pre-mass production phase, there’s no way the AirPods launch imminently provided this report is accurate.

The third-gen AirPods will reportedly boast an AirPods Pro-style design but lack active noise cancellation.

Apple last updated its regular AirPods on March 20, 2019. Before this, the first AirPods landed in stores on December 20, 2016. By my count, that’s 820 days between the first and second-gen AirPods. If Apple follows that exact same schedule, we should expect to see AirPods 3 in mid-June 2021. It seems Apple might keep people waiting a little longer than that.

Things have changed a lot since Apple released its original AirPods. For one thing, Apple now offers three tiers of AirPods — with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max occupying the high end of the AirPods market. Ming-Chi Kuo has also suggested that, after a few years of meteoric growth, AirPods shipments may actually decline for the first time this year.

Source: Digitimes