Apple has no plans to release the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro 2 in 2020

Apple has no plans to release the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro 2 in 2020
Apple's AirPods release schedule remains significantly harder to anticipate than that of the company's iPhone lineup, which is widely expected to defy the coronavirus pandemic and stick to a traditional upgrade cycle with little to no delay this fall after all.

In case you were holding out a glimmer of hope that the Cupertino-based tech giant would refresh last year's regular AirPods and/or the Pro model by the end of 2020, Digitimes appears to be supporting a number of predictions made by reputable analyst and prolific leaker Ming-Chi Kuo over the past few months.

Separate 2021 launches for the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2

Obviously, those names are far from confirmed at the moment. In fact, they're highly unlikely considering that Apple has never referred to its second-gen non-Pro true wireless earbuds as the AirPods 2. But for the time being, they're the easiest way to call these otherwise mysterious and distant audio accessories.

That being said, it's hardly surprising to hear Apple planning an AirPods 3 rollout sometime in the first half of next year, followed by the AirPods Pro 2 during the second half of 2021. After all, that would essentially coincide with the 2019 timetable, which included a commercial debut for the company's refreshed AirPods with both wired and wireless charging case options in March, followed by the late October release of the upgraded AirPods Pro with a revised design and state-of-the-art active noise cancellation technology.

Speaking of that revised design, it's worth remembering that Kuo predicted just last month the AirPods 3 will come with a Pro-inspired external appearance. It's not entirely clear where a move like that would leave the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of distinctiveness, but at least for now, we have no reason to expect an expansion of the aforementioned ultra-high-end ANC feature to the entry-level AirPods 3 variant.

Unfortunately, today's Digitimes report is behind a paywall, but according to the folks over at MacRumors, the Taiwanese publication's inside sources are hinting at the future AirPods adoption of certain health monitoring tools. This is something that Samsung pioneered with the Gear IconX back in 2016 and that may or may not be revived for the Galaxy Buds Live this year before Apple purportedly follows suit in "one to two years."

If this particular rumor pans out, future AirPods and/or AirPods Pro editions could monitor a wearer's heart rate, count your steps, supervise various "health conditions", and detect head movements, all without a nearby phone or smartwatch.

But wait, there's more

More Apple-branded headphones in the pipeline, that is, which could actually see daylight in 2020. We're talking primarily about those long-rumored high-end over-ear AirPods Studio cans, but also the so-called AirPods Pro Lite, which are likely to be dubbed AirPods X in the end, although some sort of a Beats-derived moniker might be on the table as well.

Alas, there's nothing new to report about these two models, so we're still left waiting for the $350 or so AirPods Studio to "drop at any moment" (for more than two months now) with swappable parts, head and neck detection capabilities, custom equalizer settings, and of course, premium audio quality meant to give Sony and Bose a run for their money.

As the rumored name suggests, the AirPods X could take their design cues from the affordable BeatsX, combining wireless functionality with a neckband style that's never out of style for clumsy users who don't want to be responsible for separately keeping track of their two teeny-tiny earbuds. That sounds like something Apple could give away alongside early iPhone 12 orders to boost demand, but knowing the company and judging from the latest speculation, we're definitely not holding our breath.

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