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AirPods 3 still rumored to be on track for 2021 release

Person holding AirPods 3 clone
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

Looks like we could see the AirPods 3 arrive by end of 2021 after all. According to a new report from DigiTimes (via MacRumors), the third generation of Apple's wireless earbuds is still on track to be unveiled before 2022.

According to DigiTimes' sources "Apple is likely to launch new AirPods models by the end of 2021, but may not unveil new TWS [true wireless stereo] devices with major spec upgrades." This comes shortly after an earlier DigiTimes report stating that the design of the AirPods 3 has reportedly already been finalized and the earbuds have already entered mass production

Previously, we've had no information on the potential launch date, however, we're now looking at a period from October to December. 

And the timeline actually corresponds to some of the previous rumors and leaks that we've covered earlier this year. While the September event is already behind us, there are still claims that Apple could be gearing up for more events scheduled up until December this year. This would certainly make a lot of sense, since a handful of rumored devices from the likes of the MacBook Pro 2021 and the AirPods 3 are yet to be announced. 

The AirPods 3 were initially expected to make an appearance during Apple's September event alongside the iPhone 13 lineup. However, despite the speculation, the event didn't feature any audio-related hardware announcements.

"Although the new AirPods did not make it to the launch in September, the sources still expect the wearable to debut before the year-end shopping season starts, since Apple has seen its share in the TWS earbud market slipping," said an earlier DigiTimes report. 

The AirPods 3 are expected to be the next addition to Apple's earbuds family since the debut of the AirPods Pro. The new generation of AirPods is rumored to carry a handful of significant upgrades compared to the existing AirPods 2, such a compact AirPods Pro-like design, active noise cancellation, better battery life and an improved overall sound quality. 

As such, it looks like the AirPods 3 may be a slightly toned-down version of the AirPods Pro. However, it's still unclear whether the new AirPods will get the rumored silicone ear tips, as several renders and allegedly leaked images don't seem to include those. 

Denise Primbet

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.