New AirPods Expected to Launch in Third Quarter as Production Gets Underway

Taiwanese supplier ASE Technology has started production of optical sensors for next-generation AirPods slated to launch in the third quarter of 2021, according to industry sources cited in a paywalled DigiTimes story preview today.

airpods 3 1
The full report has yet to be published, so there are no further details at this time, but the timeframe lines up with information shared by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who earlier this month claimed that third-generation AirPods will enter mass production in the third quarter of the year. The quarter runs from July through September.

Kuo previously said the third-generation AirPods would be released in the first half of 2021, and a series of leaked photos and renders certainly made it seem like a launch was imminent, but this no longer appears to be the case.

The third-generation AirPods are expected to have a similar design as the AirPods Pro, including shorter stems, but without silicone ear tips or active noise cancellation, allowing for a lower price. The second-generation AirPods retail for $159 with a wired charging case or for $199 with a wireless charging case, while the AirPods Pro run $249.

Apple released the second-generation AirPods in March 2019, followed by the AirPods Pro in October 2019.

Update: The full report has been published.

Related Roundup: AirPods
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

FightTheFuture Avatar
3 weeks ago

There is not going to be AirPods 3. I may be wrong but I also may be right.
I bet the AirPods 2 outsell the AirPods Pro 4:1. Regular AirPods aren’t going anywhere.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
3 weeks ago
Guess I have to fix my girlfriend's gen 1 then. was hoping to get these for her instead.

her left airpod stops working after a couple of minutes all the time.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jetjaguar Avatar
3 weeks ago
The original AirPods fit in my ear perfect. Could never get the AirPods Pro to though.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirAnthonyHopkins Avatar
3 weeks ago

They would discontinue them because one, they are really old and 2, they don't have as many features like AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. And if Apple is going to keep upgrading them, they probably are going to take away the Classic AirPods.
The lack of features is precisely the point. This is the entry level and best-selling model by a mile. It's like saying Apple will discontinue the MacBook Air because it doesn't have as many features as the Pro.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
3 weeks ago
I'll believe it when they are released, same with the Air Tags
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cookie18 Avatar
3 weeks ago
I like the look of those. The original ones are iconic at this point though so it’ll be sad to see them go.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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