TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for his reliable predictions, has released an update on AirPods 3. In a note to investors, accessed by 9to5Mac, Kuo hinted at the launch timeline of the next-gen Apple wearable as well as its possible design.
The analyst believes that Apple will continue to sell the second-generation AirPods through this year’s holiday season and replace them with AirPods 3 in the first half of 2021. Talking about the design of the upcoming earbuds, Kuo says that the AirPods 3 will feature a new form factor “similar to AirPods Pro”.
To recall, Apple had launched the second-gen AirPods in March 2019 featuring always-listening Hey Siri voice activation as well as added Qi wireless charging case option. However, the design of the AirPods 2 looked the same as the original AirPods.
Apple debuted AirPods Pro in October, which came with an in-ear design with rubber tips featuring noise cancelling. It also carried shorter stems and a sleeker look. Kuo says that the AirPods 3 will look similar to AirPods Pro but doesn’t mention the similarities.
It seems unlikely that Apple will shift its entire line of earbuds to in-ear design with rubber tip. We expect the third-gen AirPods to borrow the shorter stem and sleeker appeal of the AirPods Pro while leaving out the rubber tip and noise cancellation features otherwise there will be no differentiating factor between the Pro and non-Pro models of the AirPods.
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In the past, Kuo had suggested that an upgrade to the AirPods Pro will not come until 2022. Kuo also says that Apple will stop shipping wireless earbuds with the iPhone 12. This is expected to drive more AirPods sale for the company this year. He notes that while AirPods sales slumped in the second quarter of 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis, things could improve through the end of the year.