In a TF International Securities research note, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is once again serving tangential confirmation that the next AirPods generation exists, and is in the planning stages.
AirPods 3 will use the same compact chippery called system-in-package (SiP) as the current AirPods Pro model. Apple's first crack at cable-less Bluetooth headphones got a successor with noise-cancellation, a Siri agent that is always listening, and a Bluetooth connectivity chip that is 50% more power efficient than the previous design.His current tip is that the
The SiP solution allows for a very compact electronics footprint, so that Apple can focus more on acoustics, larger battery and/or extra features like active noise cancellation. Those same SiP qualities will apparently stay valid for the AirPods 3 but don't expect them to be as full-featured as the Pro, as those apparently will be a cheaper, AirPods Lite model.
The AirPods 3 release is expected for the first half of 2021, and according to Kuo part vendors would experience a huge 50-100% bump in business as Apple starts ramping up production. The SiP electronics will be made by Amkor, JCET and Huanxu Electronics, and Shin Zu Shing will be making the the AirPods 3 case hinges, he advises.
The current AirPods will be discontinued at that time but Kuo expects demand to taper off in 2021 compared to 2020 when AirPods demand will be through the roof due to Apple's decision to eschew wired earbuds and charger for the iPhone 12 boxes.
One thing is for certain - with the SiP solution, Apple's AirPods repairability will again be non-existent, and once the tiny batteries start giving up the ghost after a year or two of extensive use, we'll again be left with little options but to upgrade to the new models.