According to a report from DigiTimes, Apple plans on launching the AirPods 3 at its September event, where it is expected to unveil the upcoming iPhone 13 line (via MacRumors). The move certainly makes sense, since Apple won’t be bundling any earbuds with the iPhone 13 — a practice it adopted with the previous iPhone.
The news comes from sources close to the matter. Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo originally expected Apple to announce the third-generation AirPods in the first half of 2021, but later revealed that they had been delayed and would not go into mass production until sometime in the third quarter.
DigiTimes previously reported that the AirPods 3 were slated for a Q3 launch. This new report from the publication doubles down on that timeline, adding that the next-generation AirPods will go into production in August and that some components have already started shipping in “small volumes”.
The third-generation AirPods will be an update to the AirPods 2, which brought us wireless charging support, improved internals, and “Hey Siri” support back in 2019. The AirPods 3 are expected to take inspiration from the AirPods Pro for design, and are also rumoured to cost more than their predecessors.
The rumours of a design refresh are backed up by various leaked images of the purported AirPods 3, which showcase an AirPods Pro-like design, shorter stalks, and support for snap-in silicone ear-tips. As for the case for the new AirPods, it appears to be shorter but wider as compared to its predecessor.
The AirPods certainly afforded Apple a strong foothold in the wireless earphone market, but that Apple’s position dwindles as the competition puts out more and more wireless earbuds with similar features at lower price points.
Apple has reportedly lowered production of the current AirPods due to lower-than-expected sales, most likely caused by increased competition. The AirPods 3 will prove vital in determining the future of the AirPods line, and just how much of its resources Apple should be dedicating to it.
With the iPhone 13 expected to follow Apple’s usual launch schedule, we should see Apple organize an event sometime in September.
Apple is also working on second-generation AirPods Pro with fitness tracking and other health features, but those aren’t expected until sometime in 2022.