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Apple’s rumored AirPods 3 might not come out until fall

The new information comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

apple airpods on iphone 7
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With all of the recent leaks of the upcoming AirPods 3, you’d be forgiven if you thought Apple would be launching its latest earbuds in the near future. Well, that all depends on your definition of “near,” as Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says they won’t be coming until the end of the year.

That’s right, the usually-accurate Kuo says that Apple won’t even start mass production of the new AirPods until the third quarter of this year. That means the rumored March 23 Apple event won’t be featuring the AirPods, unless Apple gives a preview of them with a “later this year” timeline.

The date for that event still hasn’t been confirmed by Apple, and there are only rumors as to which devices, if any, are going to be shown once the event is confirmed. With OnePlus also having an event on March 23 to release the OnePlus 9 range, maybe Apple is rethinking the timing of its own event.

Whatever Apple does decide with its launch events, it’s clear from Kuo’s note that the next-gen AirPods aren’t ready for prime time. He also goes on to talk about overall shipment numbers for the year, where he predicts Apple’s headphone shipments will be lower this year versus 2020, as rival manufacturers have turned up the heat.

That drop will be to the tune of 10 million units, as Apple shipped roughly 90 million AirPods in 2020, and he thinks the 2021 sales number will be closer to 78 million. Oh, and in case you were wondering how many $549 AirPods Max headphones Apple will sell this year, Kuo thinks it will be just one million units.

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