Apple AirPods 3 could soothe your ears in early 2021– but probably not before

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Holding out for an update to the entry-level AirPods this year? You might be out of luck – as it's unlikely you'll see an update until 2021.

That's according to Ming-Chi Kuo, often-cited and often-correct Apple analyst. The third generation AirPods, aka the AirPods 3, are likely to enter mass-production in the first half of 2021, according to his sources.

As for new AirPods Pro? Any AirPods Pro 2 aren't going to see the light of day until the fourth quarter of 2021 – at the earliest – with an early 2022 launch more likely.

No surprises

The new release estimates seem reasonable. It's been a little while now since the AirPods revision of 2019 occurred, and it's far too soon for the recently-released AirPods Pro to get a look in. With the world on lockdown, it's arguable that on-the-go headphones are a less necessary purchase at the moment, let alone an upgrade.

According to Kuo, you'd be looking at a refinement of the designs rather than an overhaul, with a movement towards system-in-package internal tech rather than standard circuit boards. This could in theory leave more space for battery enhancements.

What's perhaps most interesting is Kuo cleans up rumors around fitness focussed AirPods X and AirPods Pro Lite rumours – it seems more likely by his estimates that these rumors are referring to upcoming Beats launches instead.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.