Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) Might Arrive in 2021, AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) in 2022: Ming-Chi Kuo

Apple’s next-generation AirPods will not launch in 2020, an Apple analyst has suggested. According to a report citing notable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the third-generation AirPods are likely to head to production in the first half of 2021 while the second-generation AirPods Pro are slated to go into mass production in the “fourth calendar quarter of 2021, or the first quarter of 2022.” The report also rejected claims regarding the launch of new ‘Apple AirPods’ later this year. Previously, a tipster had suggested that Apple might launch AirPods X later in 2020.

According to Kuo as cited by an Apple Insider report, Apple will most likely retain older designs in the new AirPods and AirPods Pro. However, the new-generation AirPods are believed to adopt “system-in-package (SIP) design, instead of a printed circuit board,” that will aim to make the earbuds slimmer and faster. If the rumours are true, it won’t come as a surprise as Apple retained its older design (seen in the first-generation AirPods) with their latest AirPods as well. Notably, the AirPods that came out in 2019 had many internal upgrades that enabled an enhanced sound quality, battery life, along with other features.

To recall, Apple introduced the second-generation AirPods in March 2019 that looked almost identical to the first-generation AirPods, which were launched in 2016. But the second-generation AirPods came with major internal upgrades such as H1 audio chip, hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ voice assistant feature, and more. Similarly, the AirPods Pro that were launched in November 2019, also looked mostly the same, barring the new silicon tips, with the previous AirPods. However, the major upgrade in this one was the active noise-cancellation feature.

Meanwhile, a tipster earlier this month suggested that Apple is developing new Airpods, namely AirPods X that will be targetted towards fitness enthusiasts. The AirPods X were supposed to be positioned somewhere between the AirPods (2nd Gen) and AirPods Pro. However, Kuo believes that the launch of new AirPods in 2020 “is unlikely”. Additionally, the analyst believes that Apple sources are “confusing the design process with a Beats product.”

Lastly, Kuo has also suggested that due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the shipments of the second-generation AirPods are likely to fall in the second quarter of 2020. On the other hand, he indicated that AirPods Pro shipments will likely increase by up to 70 percent in the second quarter, “thanks to replacement demand and the new functionality of the unit.”

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