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AirPods 3 reportedly ramping up for fall release date

AirPods 3 rumor
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

The rumored AirPods 3 looks ever more likely to launch in the second half of the year, as Apple’s suppliers are reportedly working on increasing capacity to crank out both the new earbuds and new MacBooks in the third quarter of 2021. 

That's according to Taiwan's Economic Daily News, which reported a tip suggesting that supplier New Nikko is working with Apple. New Nikko will allegedly provide bearings for the charging case of the next-gen AirPods and for the hinges of the MacBook Pro 2021

While we can’t verify Economic Daily News’ source, which appears to be someone familiar with New Nikko’s operations, this third-quarter release date for the AirPods 3 and next-gen MacBook Pros does track with previous tips and predictions from the likes of Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. 

Speaking of Kuo, in his latest report note seen by MacRumors, the analyst predicts that the AirPods Pro 2 will come out next year. If true, this indicates that Apple could focus on updating its standard AirPods before it moves onto the more expensive models. 

In short, it would look like the fall will be a busy period for Apple. We're currently expecting to see the iPhone 13 around September, along with the next-gen MacBook Pros (comprising the a new MacBook Pro 14-inch and a redesigned MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021) as well as the AirPods 3. If these rumors all prove to be true, we suspect Apple will reveal the new iPhone first and possibly the AirPods 3 in the same event. 

The new MacBooks are likely to have a separate event, especially as we’re predicting big upgrades like the addition of the Apple M2 chip (or M1X chip), a new design, and finally more ports. We'd predict this will take place in October or November, as Apple hasn't previously released any products late in the year than that. 

No specs for either the AirPods 3 or next-gen MacBooks are mentioned in the Economic Daily News' report. But going by the leaks so far, we’re expecting the AirPods 3 to have a design that’s more like the current AirPods Pro, with boosted audio capabilities, and potentially active noise cancellation. Some health-related features have also been hinted at, but we’re not hugely convinced by those, as more premium features are likely to be held for the next-gen AirPods Pro

Either way, the second-half of 2021 looks to be a good one for Apple fans. But for those who are desperate for a new pair of headphones right now, check out our best wireless earbuds roundup. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.