Kuo: AirPods 3 sporting AirPods Pro-like design arriving in the first half of 2021

AirPods Pro

Apple should release a pair of third-generation AirPods with an updated industrial design and possibly bringing some new features sometime in early 2021.

According to a new research note from reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities, the AirPods 3 should bring an updated look more consistent with the current higher-end AirPods Pro earbuds — they should be smaller and have an updated shape to better fit most ears — in turn boosting already strong demand for the company’s wireless earbuds.

AppleInsider has the full report:

The transition to sole production of the AirPods 3 is said to happen in the first half of 2021, meaning a release before the WWDC 2021 in all likelihood.

And what does Kuo have to say about AirPods demand for the rest of this year?

Regarding those sales volumes, Kuo is not changing his shipment prediction of 93.8 million units for total AirPods shipments in 2020. Kuo believes that ‘the worst will be over in 2Q20 thanks to the back-to-school promotion and destocking in the second quarter of this year and shipments will continue to grow quarter over quarter in both the third and fourth calendar quarters of 2020’.

The analyst accompanied his research note with the following tablet showing his estimated shipment volumes for both the AirPods and AirPods Pro throughout 2020.

One way Apple will grown AirPods shipments: the next iPhone is believed to drop the company’s bundled wired EarPods earphones, which Kuo predicted in May, potentially boosting AirPods demand as customers will be increasingly looking for a replacement.

TUTORIAL: Tips for using your EarPods like a pro

The Cupertino tech giant is rumored to be expanding the AirPods range with additions of new AirPods-branded models, including a pair of high-end over-ear headphones similar to the Beats Studio range and a pair of neckband-style AirPods X.