Apple has delayed the launch of the next AirPods – the AirPods 3 – until the third quarter of 2021, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a report spotted by AppleInsider, Kuo crushes any hope of the wireless earbuds showing up at Apple's next event – rumoured to be the 23rd March.
Kuo had originally tipped the AirPods 3 to launch in the first half of 2021. But in his latest note to investors, Kuo says: "better-than-expected demand for the new AirPods 3, which will go to mass production in 3Q21, will allow 4Q21 shipments to remain flat YoY at 23 million units."
In other words, Kuo believes that Apple fans could hold out for the AirPods 3, leading to a drop in sales of the 2019-launched AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro. He's none too bullish about the AirPods Max, either, tipping Apple's first-ever over-ear headphones for a 25% drop in year-on-year sales.
So, what can we expect from the (now delayed) AirPods 3? Last week we brought you supposed hands-on photos of Apple's next wireless earbuds (below), which appear to have an updated design with shorter stems. They could also boast a greater focus on fitness features, thanks to the inclusion of ambient light sensors.
GizmoChina also suggests the earbuds will come with replaceable ear tips to provide a better fit. Again, this chimes with previous rumours, and would be a first for the standard AirPods.
But if Kuo's right, and the AirPods 3 aren't launching anytime soon, what will Apple unveil if it does hold an event on the 23rd March? Could we see a new Apple TV, a new iPad Pro or perhaps even an iPad Pro Mini? There's also talk of new AirPods Pro buds and a refreshed iPhone SE.
One thing we probably won't see? A replacement for the HomePod. Apple recently announced it will discontinue the HomePod to 'focus its efforts' on the HomePod Mini.
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