New AirPods 3 report says mass production starting soon for 2021 launch

Apple AirPods 3 rumour: illustrated by picture of current AirPods at jaunty angle
(Image credit: Apple)

It seems like we've been waiting forever for Apple to launch the AirPods 3, but a new report claims that the highly anticipated Apple wireless earbuds could break cover sooner rather than later. 

Mass production of the third-generation AirPods is expected to start in August, say sources quoted by Nikkei Asia. That jives with rumours that New Nikko, which is said to be providing ball bearings for the charging case of the next-gen AirPods, has been scrambling to increase production in line with Apple's production targets.

Apple is said to be readying the AirPods 3 – along with a new iPhone 13 line-up – for release in the second half of 2021, in hopes of benefitting from any post-pandemic economic boom.

The Nikkei Asia report goes on to claim that "all iPhones released next year will be 5G-capable", meaning that Apple will not introduce any new 4G models. The outlet's sources also claim that Apple has canned the iPhone 13 mini. 

Instead, it's thought that Apple could debut an updated version of the iPhone SE with 5G connectivity. This would become the tech titan's entry-level iPhone, designed to tempt phone hunters on a budget.

Could we see the AirPods 3 launch alongside the iPhone 13 in September, as many have predicted? And will the AirPods Pro 2? With any luck Apple will let the cat out of the bag in the next month or two.


Everything we know so far about the AirPods 3  

Check out the best wireless headphones around

Try 30 Apple Music tips, tricks and features

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test