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.
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.