Kuo: Mass Production on Third-Gen AirPods Starting in First Half of 2021, Design Unchanged But New Internals [Updated]

Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will go into mass production during the first half of 2021, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors today.

airpodsdesign
The new AirPods will adopt the System-in-Package used for the AirPods Pro, replacing the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of the second-generation AirPods. Kuo says that these internal updates will be the biggest change to the third-generation AirPods, suggesting the update will not include design changes and will continue to look like second-generation AirPods.

The third-generation AirPods will go to mass production in the 1H21, and the most significant change of the internal design of this new model is the adoption of SiP to replace the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of second-generation AirPods. We believe that Apple will pull in this new model because of the declining demand for second-generation AirPods. Luxshare ICT will be the main supplier for this new model.

Kuo's prediction is somewhat confusing because there have been rumors of an AirPods update coming in 2020, while he suggests no new AirPods are coming until 2021. Leaker Jon Prosser, for example recently said that third-generation AirPods are ready to launch anytime.

There have also been rumors that Apple is working on set of ‌AirPods Pro‌ without Active Noise Cancellation that will feature the ‌AirPods Pro‌ design at a lower price point, but Kuo does not mention these earbuds.

He does, however, say that the market is expecting a new AirPods model in the second half of 2020, but that this is more likely to be a new set of Beats instead of a new set of AirPods, so it's possible all of the "‌AirPods Pro‌ Lite" rumors are referencing new headphones in the Beats lineup.

As for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, Kuo says that a new model will go into mass production in the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, which suggests no ‌AirPods Pro‌ refresh in 2020 or early 2021. We can expect Apple's high-end over-ear headphones in 2020, though, as Kuo says that these will enter mass production in mid-2020.

Update: ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌ issued an update to his original report that indicated third-generation AirPods will go into production in the first half of 2021, not the first half of 2020 as first stated.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
20 months ago

Kuo says that these internal updates will be the biggest change to the third-generation AirPods, suggesting the update will not include design changes and will continue to look like second-generation AirPods.
YESSSSSSSS!

I know I'm in the minority, but I actually prefer original AirPods to the Pros. I like the smaller size, the lack of a bulbous in-ear component, being able to quickly tap them with the back of my hand (verses squeezing, which is harder to do with dirty/occupied hands), the lack of the odd vacuum effect, longer battery life, and that I can comfortably lie on my side in bed and wear them.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
20 months ago
I wonder if the new design will also include the much higher quality button cell batteries from the Airpods Pro.

I'm glad they didn't change the overall shape of the Airpods, though. I've never been able to use "plug" style earbuds; they either hurt or amplify every single sound in my head. They also don't work well unless they have a perfect seal; I find the original Airpod/earpod design doesn't need a perfect seal to work well. If they discontinued that design I wouldn't be able to use them anymore.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imnotthewalrus Avatar
20 months ago

Just a few days ago you said they’d be released next month!!! Get your facts straight please!!!
The key word in Macrumors is rumors
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trifid Avatar
20 months ago
Great news, I was concerned they might have been discontinued or would suffer in light of the pros. I bought the pros but returned them.

I love the open design of the originals, it lets me use them all day long without being isolated from my surroundings. And no, the pros' transparency mode is not as good as the original airpods open sound.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thejoshuabradshaw Avatar
20 months ago
Yes! Great News for someone who likes the current form factor. Replacing AP01 soon!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrMojo1 Avatar
20 months ago
"The third-generation AirPods will go to mass production in the 1H21, and the most significant change of the internal design of this new model is the adoption of SiP to replace the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of second-generation AirPods."

Will someone please translate that.
What will that do, for those who don't own the Airpods 1/2 versions?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Partners With Delta to Provide Free In-Flight Music and Podcasts Service

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:59 am PDT by
Spotify has announced a new partnership with Delta that will see the streaming service take over the "audio" section of Delta's in-flight seatback entertainment, making select playlists and podcasts freely available to all passengers. You are now free to roam about the cabin—and get the music and podcasts you love at 30,000 feet. Beginning today, we're taking off in a new partnership with...