Listen up! AirPods 3 could enter mass-production next month

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AirPods 3 might borrow some features of AirPods Pro.
Coming soon to a pair of ears near you.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple’s next-gen AirPods, the third iteration of the company’s regular AirPods, will go into production next month, Nikkei Asia reported Wednesday.

This would be the first upgrade for Apple’s standard issue AirPods since the second-gen version debuted March 2019. The original AirPods made their debut in December 2016.

Nikkei doesn’t provide a launch date, but imminent mass-production suggests we won’t be waiting all that long. There were 827 days between the first and second version of the AirPods. It is now 854 days since March 20, 2019 — meaning that (by the admittedly small sample size of the original gap between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2), AirPods 3 are overdue.

In late 2020, reports from publications including Bloomberg said that AirPods 3 would ship in the first half of 2021. That obviously hasn’t happened. However, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities — who has a strong record when predicting the future of Apple — was steadfast in his belief that new AirPods wouldn’t go into production until Q3 2021. At least based on today’s report, it would seem he was right on the money.

One possible challenge for Apple might be the continued production challenges resulting from COVID. According to a report this week, one Apple supplier in Vietnam — GoerTek, which builds AirPods for Apple — is currently trying to continue manufacturing with the massive rise in COVID cases in the country. If these continue to get out of hand, it could affect the production of the new AirPods (along with other, much worse, effects.)

The new AirPods will supposedly boast an AirPods Pro-style design. However, they will reportedly lack the active noise cancellation of the AirPods Pro.

Source: Nikkei Asia