Apple will launch the next generation of AirPods in the first half of 2021. The TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released an update on AirPods 3, hinting at launch timeline and possible design. The analyst added in his note that the new generations of Airpods will have a new form factor design similar to the AirPods Pro. To recall, the second-gen AirPods were launched in March 2019, and there is no plan of launching next-generation iPods in 2020.
The third generation of AirPods will look similar to the AirPods Pro but will certainly have new features. The second-generation AirPods that debuted in 2019 had new features like Qi wireless charging case but their design was similar to the original AirPods. The Airpods Pro has more traditional in-canal fit with rubber ear tips, instead of the outer-ear fit seen on the Airpods 2nd Gen.
Kuo notes that the AirPods 3 will replace the AirPods (2nd gen) in the first half of 2021, which means that it will continue to sell AirPods Pro and AirPods (2nd Gen) through the holiday season this year. Kuo also reiterates that Apple will stop shipping wireless earbuds with the iPhone 12 to drive more AirPods sale this year. He notes that while AirPods sales slumped in the second quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, he believes that things will improve through the end of the year.
In the past, Kuo suggested that an upgrade to the AirPods Pro will not come until 2022.