Apple to launch AirPods 3 in early 2021 with AirPods Pro-like design
AirPods 3: A design inspired by AirPods Pro
Trustworthy analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed in April that Apple is working on an updated version of the standard AirPods for release next year. Today, Kuo reiterated those claims and provided some more information.
The AirPods in question, which are currently being referred to as AirPods 3 or AirPods (third-generation), will reportedly be made available to purchase in the first half of 2021, around two years after the existing pair were introduced.
That timeline means the official announcement could happen in March 2021 at the annual event or in June 2021 at WWDC alongside updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and any other hardware products that may be in the pipeline.
There is still no word on the features or internal hardware but Ming-Chi Kuo has today teased an updated design inspired by the AirPods Pro earphones that were introduced in October 2019.
Instead, AirPods 3 could offer the existing tip design paired with shorter stems and some internal upgrades such as a new audio chip. That should boost interest in the product and may even lead to a wave of upgrades from users of the first and second-gen AirPods.
AirPods Pro 2 are expected to follow in late 2021
Accompanying AirPods 3 in the second half of 2021 will be AirPods Pro 2. These wireless earphones probably won’t benefit from any major design changes and are instead expected to focus on internal upgrades only.
Nevertheless, the introduction of a refreshed pair is likely to boost demand and help Apple sustain impressive levels of growth for the foreseeable future. The latter will, of course, be helped by AirPods Studio and AirPods X.
Don't expect headphones inside iPhone 12 boxes
Solidifying the dedication to AirPods moving forward will be the removal of wired EarPods from iPhone boxes this year. Ming-Chi Kuo first mentioned the possibility a month ago and now appears more certain that it will happen.
The new strategy, which will coincide with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro launch, is expected to boost AirPods sales next year. It could also provide a decent bump towards the end of this year following the iPhone 12 release.