AirPods 3 unlikely to launch until 2021 – so will we see any new AirPods today at WWDC?

Apple AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple AirPods 3 won't launch until 2021, says industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been proven right about numerous Apple product launches in the past.

According to 9to5Mac, the prolific Apple analyst believes that Apple "will continue to sell second-generation AirPods through this year’s holiday season", replacing the popular true wireless earbuds with the AirPods 3 "in the first half of 2021". 

The new 'Pods will apparently take their design cues from the AirPods Pro, which ditched the rigid plastic tips and super long ear stems of the 2019 Apple AirPods, in favor of silicone eartips and a sleeker look. Whether that means they'll come with noise cancellation as well remains to be seen.

AirPods 3 rumors have been coming in thick and fast in recent weeks. Most recently, we heard that Apple is planning to fit ambient light sensors to future versions of the AirPods – sensors which could make them much more useful as health monitoring devices, akin to the best fitness headphones in the world.

What about WWDC 2020?

Kuo's prediction may come as a disappointment to those who were hoping to see the AirPods 3 at WWDC 2020, which kicks off today at 10AM PT / 1PM ET / 6PM BST (3AM AEST on June 23).

All is not lost, however. Despite rumors that the keynote won't include any hardware announcements, our fingers are crossed for the launch of Apple's first over-ear headphones, the AirPods Studio, and perhaps even a new smart speaker, the so-called Apple HomePod 2

The keynote is free to watch – and you can follow all the action with our WWDC liveblog. As a software-focused event, we're expecting to see iOS 14iPadOS 14watchOS 7, and macOS 10.16, and perhaps tvOS 14 – here's hoping we see some new audio hardware, too.  

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.