AirPods 3 mass production tipped for August as launch nears

Apple AirPods 3 leak
(Image credit: 52 Audio)

Before there can be an AirPods 3 release date, there must first be an AirPods 3, which means Apple’s long-rumored wireless earbuds going into mass production. That could finally happen in August, according to an Nikkei Asia report.

The report primarily covers Apple’s alleged plans for its 2022 iPhone lineup, though it also claims “a new version of AirPods” will enter production next month. This would put a final release date fairly soon afterwards — potentially as early as September.

This lines up with several of the AirPods 3 rumors we’ve heard before. In June, for instance, it was reported that Apple parts suppliers were ramping up their own production with a view for the AirPods 3 to come together in time for Q3 2021.

That same release window was previously cited by Apple insider and insutry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said back in March that mass production on the AirPods 3 wouldn’t start until Q3 2021. This quarter runs from the start of July until the end of September, so scheduling production to begin in August would be consistent with the AirPods 3 release rumors that haven’t already proven wrong.

Not everyone is buying into this potential timeline. In reference to the Nikkei Asia report, Twitter tipster LeaksApplePro wrote “No. They are ready,” though didn’t elaborate further. LeaksApplePro accurately named the products to feature in the Apple Spring Loaded event back in April but generally has a mixed record, so take this with the customary pinch of salt.

It’s worth doing the same with the Nikkei Asia report too, though if we had to bet, we’d probably look towards a September launch for the AirPods 3. This month is when Apple usually announces its latest iPhone model, and since the iPhone 13 is heavily tipped to follow suit this year, it would make a lot of sense for the new phone and new earbuds to be part of the same event. This would also mean mass production starting in August is, at the very least, plausible.

There’s certainly no shortage of high-profile headphones coming soon: the Nothing Ear (1) is booked for a launch event on July 27, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 may join the rumored Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11. In time, we’ll see which of these — along with the AirPods 3 — are most worthy of joining the ranks of the best wireless earbuds.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.