Ming-Chi Kuo believes that a new “AirPods 3” will arrive in the first half of 2021, kickstarting fresh demand for Apple’s wireless earbuds.
Kuo believes that the “AirPods 3” have a “new form factor design” and will be similar to the AirPods Pro. The transition to sole production of the “AirPods 3” is said to happen in the first half of 2021, meaning a release before the 2021 WWDC in all likelihood.
Introduced in November 2019, the AirPods Pro feature an in-ear design with three sizes of soft, flexible silicone tips included in the box, along with shorter stems below the ear. AirPods Pro also have several upgraded features over regular AirPods, including active noise cancellation, improved sound quality, and water and sweat resistance.
The current AirPods lineup includes second-generation AirPods with a wired charging case for $159, second-generation AirPods with a wireless charging case for $199, and AirPods Pro with a wireless charging case for $249.
Regarding those sales volumes, Kuo is not changing his shipment prediction of 93.8 million units for total AirPods shipments in 2020. He believes “that the worst will be over in 2Q20 thanks to the back-to-school promotion and destocking in 2Q20.
For 2021, Kuo predicts that AirPods shipments will increase by 28% year-over-year, partially because of the removal of EarBuds from the iPhone 12, and the replacement demand as the third-generation AirPods debut.
Rumors about a lower-priced “AirPods Pro Lite” have been circulating since early 2020, though it’s never been clear what form they might take.