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Leaker says AirPods 3 aren’t coming anytime soon

Updated Mar 15th, 2021 12:41PM EDT
AirPods 3 Rumors
Image: Apple/Amazon

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According to recent rumors, Apple will hold a press event on March 23rd, although it has not yet announced the virtual event. The same rumors said that Apple is about to release various new products and refresh others. The AirTags trackers are finally coming, and the first iPad Pro with a mini-LED display is also expected to launch this month. Apple might also release a new Apple TV, and AirPods refreshes have been rumored for the March event.

The next-gen AirPods are easily one of the most exciting refresh of spring, and we’ve seen several leaks that indicated the AirPods 3 and AirPods 3 Pro might be ready for launch. But a leaker with a reliable track record says the next version of wireless earphones isn’t coming until the third quarter of the year.

The most recent wave of AirPods 3 leaks included pictures of the purported design update. The new earphones will borrow the AirPods Pro design, featuring a smaller stem than the initial AirPods design. The charging case will also resemble the Pro case, according to the same leaks. The AirPods 3 will not come with removable tips, and they won’t support noise cancelation. Those are still signature features of the Pro models, also due for an update later this year.

YouTuber Jon Prosser said last week that AirPods are “ready,” indicating that Apple might unveil them at the March 23rd event, a date he also revealed on Twitter.

But analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a new note to investors that the new AirPods will not enter mass production until the third quarter of 2021. Kuo has proven more than once that he has access to supply chain sources familiar with Apple’s plans. If his claim is accurate, the AirPods 3 models won’t be announced in March. Apple usually announces new products when they’re ready to launch, even if they’re delayed by a few weeks or months.

Purported render of the AirPods 3 design. Image source: GizmoChina

Per 9to5Mac, Apple’s event enters on AirPods shipments. Kuo expects a decline this year, as Apple faces more pressure from rivals. The original AirPods kicked off a wireless headphones revolution, and most smartphone makers have created their AirPods alternatives.

The AirPods remain the most popular ones, however. Kuo said that Apple sold around 90 million AirPods last year, expecting shipments to fall to 78 million last year.

Kuo also said that Apple might keep the second-generation AirPods on the market when AirPods 3 will be released. Apple did something similar when AirPods 2 launched, offering buyers two versions of the product. The only difference between them was the case, which came in wireless charging and regular options.

An AirPods 3 release date closer to the holiday season would make more sense. The AirPods have been selling out around Black Friday in previous years, and a next-gen model would probably sell very well.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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