Apple’s upcoming AirPods 3 might not arrive until the end of the year

Whether or not the AirPods 2 will remain in production when the new AirPods are released isn’t known, and the situation is reportedly creating a dilemma for Apple. If the AirPods 2 stay in production and are sold for less than the AirPods 3, it could cannibalize sales of the new model. Conversely, trouble could also arise if there is no lower-cost unit on the market.

Apple’s next-gen AirPods may not arrive later this month as originally expected.

In a recent note to investors, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said mass production of the third-generation AirPods would not start until the third quarter of this year. If true, it goes against rumors from leakers like Jon Prosser who said earlier this month that Apple would hold its next event on March 23.

Products on the docket for that rumored event reportedly include new AirPods, an updated iPad Pro, a refreshed Apple TV and the AirTags tracker.

Kuo further noted that he expects AirPods shipments from the first quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2021 to drop about 25 percent compared to the same period last year, down to around 55 million units.

In related news, Apple is facing increased competition in the true wireless earbuds industry and that is affecting both sales and market share. Kuo believes that one way for Apple to improve AirPods shipments in the future is to come up with innovative hardware differentiators, perhaps like health management functionality.