New AirPods Expected Later This Year as Suppliers Begin Component Shipments

At least seven Apple suppliers have reportedly kicked off circuit board-related shipments for upcoming Apple products, and this notably includes third-generation AirPods, which are expected to be released later this year.


“Suppliers including Semco, LG Innotek, Kinsus, Unimicron, Nan Ya, Zhen Ding and AT&S have all kicked off their BT substrate shipments for Apple’s next-generation products including the Apple Watch, AirPods and iPhone, which all adopt SiP modules,” a paywalled DigiTimes report claimed today, citing industry sources.

Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman and Debby Wu previously reported that the third-generation AirPods will be released later in 2021 with a similar design as the AirPods Pro, including shorter stems. This would mark the first update to the standard AirPods since March 2019, when the second-generation pair launched with the H1 chip for hands-free “Hey Siri” functionality and up to 50 percent more talk time than the original AirPods.

The second-generation AirPods are priced at $159 with a wired charging case and at $199 with a wireless charging case, and the third-generation AirPods would maintain a lower price than the AirPods Pro, which cost $249 regularly but are frequently on sale. It’s likely that the third-generation AirPods will lack some higher-end features like active noise cancellation to maintain this lower price point.

As for the AirPods Pro, a second-generation pair with fitness tracking are rumored to launch next year, and they may have a more compact design similar to Apple’s new Beats Studio Buds released earlier this month.

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