Mass production of third-gen AirPods will begin in the first half of 2020, feature new internals but same design

If you were hoping Apple was going to launch new AirPods this year, your wish may be about to come true based on a new research note from a noted analyst.

That’s based on a note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released to investors (via MacRumors). According to the note, Kuo believes that Apple’s third-generation AirPods will enter mass production before the end of the first half of 2020. These new headphones will adopt the system-in-package (SiP) that Apple uses in the current AirPods Pro, replacing the internal design of the second-generation AirPods that Apple released early in 2019.

The third-generation ‌AirPods‌ will go to mass production in 1H20, and the most significant change of the internal design of this new model is the adoption of SiP to replace the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of second-generation ‌AirPods‌. We believe that Apple will pull in this new model because of the declining demand for second-generation ‌AirPods‌. Luxshare ICT will be the main supplier for this new model.

However, as noted by Kuo, the exterior design of the third-generation AirPods will not change, and will share the same philosophy that Apple introduced with the second-generation model. Interestingly, Kuo does not make any mention of the oft-rumored “AirPods X” or “AirPods Pro Lite” that have been rumored off-and-on for weeks now, which will reportedly boast the same design as the AirPods Pro but lack Apple’s Active Noise Cancellation feature.

However! Kuo says that the market is expecting “a new AirPods model” sometime in the second half of 2020, but that these headphones will likely be a new pair under the Beats brand rather than new AirPods. That suggests that these AirPods Pro Lite rumors could all be leaning towards a pair of new Beats-branded headphones instead.

Kuo also believes that we won’t see a new pair of AirPods Pro in 2020, or even 2021. The analyst expects Apple to enter mass production on an updated version of the AirPods Pro in late 2021, leading into 2022. And the oft-rumored high-end, over-ear Apple-branded headphones? Those are expected to enter mass production in the middle of this year.

Are you in the market for new AirPods? Will you be waiting for the third-generation model? Or will you be opting for the current AirPods Pro? Let us know in the comments.