- Apple AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 3 could be in the works.
- Apple is also said to be developing over-ear headphones.
- The exact release timelines for three models are not known.
Apple's AirPods portfolio is set to expand with more than one products allegedly in the works. In line with what has leaked so far, Ming-Chi Kuo, a renowned analyst for TF International Securities, has released a new investor note that underscores Apple's plans for next-generation AirPods models and upcoming over-ear headphones. Kuo has noted AirPods 3 will enter mass production during the first half of 2021 while the AirPods Pro 2 production will begin as early as late 2021. But its over-ear headphones are likely ready to undergo mass manufacturing this summer, per Kuo.
In his note to investors, Kuo has predicted Apple's high-end over-ear headphones will enter mass production sometime during the middle of 2020. This means the headphones should be ready for market release by late summer or early fall this year. However, the impact of the disruptions caused by covid-19 pandemic has not been gauged for the prediction. Some previous rumours have suggested Apple is developing premium-range over-ear headphones under the Beats brand, which will be available in two variants.
A Bloomberg report had earlier suggested Apple's over-ear headphones will have swappable magnetic parts and that these will come in the two options, one with leather fabrics and another with less premium material suited for wearing while working out. Prolific tipster Jon Prosser had previously tipped Apple's over-ear headphones could be the answer to the Bose 700 smart noise-cancelling headphones and cost $350 (roughly Rs 27,000). According to Prosser, the over-ear headphones could be unveiled at this year's WWDC, which Apple confirmed will be an online-only event sometime in June.
Kuo has also claimed the "AirPods Pro Lite" release timeline is doubtful. A DigiTimes report had earlier claimed Apple could launch AirPods Pro Lite earbuds this year, but Kuo has suspected the claim. Moreover, the analyst has stated the AirPods Pro Lite could be nothing but another Beats-branded product. Prosser, however, claimed these could be called AirPods X, not AirPods Pro Lite. He even tipped the AirPods X could cost $200 (roughly Rs 15,200).
The AirPods models are also getting their successors but not anytime soon. Kuo has predicted the third-generation AirPods will enter mass manufacturing by the first half of 2021. The production process will likely be identical to that of the existing AirPods Pro, which were launched in October last year. While there is a paucity of information about what the AirPods 3 will look like or house inside, they will more or less be similar to the second-generation AirPods model. The AirPods 2 brought support for wireless charging, along with hands-free Siri and the new H1 chipset.
For the sequel of its AirPods Pro, Apple could begin mass production late in 2021 or early 2022, according to Kuo. Apart from this piece of information, there is not much available to say about the AirPods Pro 2. The AirPods Pro were launched last year with a new look and active noise cancellation.