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AirPods 3 won't launch this month — this is the new release date (report)

best noise-cancelling headphones: Apple AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

Apple has been keeping its lips tightly shut despite countless rumours suggesting an upcoming Apple event this March. And while many suspect an Apple AirPods 3 announcement, we apparently won't get our hands on the next-gen wireless earbuds until later this year.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes mass production of the third-generation AirPods will take place in the third quarter of 2021, which means the new earbuds won't be released in the first half of this year, as once predicted. This report comes days after design renders of the AirPods 3 were released

According to Kuo, as reported by MacRumors, Apple has a few issues to deal with when it comes to shipment. Mainly, if the AirPods 3 release and the current AirPods 2 are then sold at a lower price, it could affect the third-gen sales.

In the report, Kuo suggests that despite the AirPods' popularity, Apple ecosystem support, and the AirPods Pro‌'s noise cancellation, "sales results show that consumers are not very willing to spend more than $100 to buy the selling points of ‌AirPods Pro‌."

If the predicted release window is to be believed, it would throw off leaks that the AirPods 3 would launch this March. GizmoChina claims to have obtained leaked renders of the AirPods 3 thanks to a source within Apple's supply chain. Usually, with a presumed Apple event so close, leaks from trusted sites suggest an impending launch.

As the renders suggest, the AirPods 3 will look very similar to the Apple AirPods Pro,
slashing the stem and featuring replaceable ear tips. GizmoChina even stated the renders are of the ready-for-market version. The current AirPods 2 launched back in March 2019, so it would make sense that a March Apple event would reveal the next-gen wireless earbuds. 

Make way for AirPods Pro 2

Rumours of Apple AirPods Pro 2 releasing in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as April, are also running wild. Apple could be gearing up for a potential next-gen Pro release first, making way for the third-gen AirPods later in 2021, based on Kuo's predictions.

Apple is seemingly hyping up the AirPods Pro, too. The company recently released a new, AirPods Pro-focused trailer on YouTube, underlining its active noise cancelling feature and transparency mode.

Whether that's a sign the current AirPods Pro won't be getting an update or Apple is bringing more attention to its popular earbuds for an upcoming next-gen launch, we're not sure. We'll hopefully see an announcement for what's to come this March, but in the meantime, you might want to compare the AirPods with some of the best wireless earbuds out there.