AirPods 3, which Apple didn’t release at iPhone 13 event, just entered mass production

Apple was predicted to unveil the third-generation AirPods during its iPhone 13 reveal, but that hasn’t happened. Industry sources claim the earbuds have now entered mass production, but does it mean that AirPods 3 could be launching in the next few weeks?


  • Suppliers reportedly begin mass production of the third-generation AirPods
  • Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said AirPods 3 would get unveiled at the iPhone 13 event
  • It now looks like AirPods 3 could arrive in October or possibly even later in 2021
  • Bottom line: Only Apple knows when the next AirPods will be ready for unveiling 

A young woman sitting on a sofa, holding an iPhone and listening to music through her AirPods

AirPods 3 reportedly enter mass production

DigiTimes claims in a preview of its upcoming report that AirPods 3 production is now underway. The Taiwanese trade publication describes the first shipments of AirPods 3 as slow. There was the word on the street that AirPods 3 would get announced alongside the new iPhone 13, iPad mini 6 and Apple Watch Series 7, but that has obviously failed to transpire.

So what happened?

Well, we don’t really know for a fact that Apple planned on announcing AirPods 3 during the “California Streaming” event. That rumor originated from prolific analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who in a research note sent to clients three days ahead of the iPhone 13 unveiling claimed AirPods 3 would make an appearance at the September 14 event after all.

A male hand holding a charge case for AirPods Pro with the earbuds inside and the lid open
Image credit: Omid Armin / Unsplash

But even Kuo, who is one of the most reputable Apple analysts, doesn’t have a perfect track record — the virtual event came and went without a mention of AirPods. Another example: The same notorious analyst claimed the iPhone 13 lineup would support communications over satellites thanks to a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 modem chip.

But as many people noted, Apple has thus far announced zero satellite features for iPhone 13.

When will Apple release AirPods 3?

As to when we can expect to get our hands on AirPods 3, it’s fairly safe to assume that Apple will announce them in October 2021. That’s when Bloomberg is expecting another virtual event from the company to unveil all-new M1X-powered MacBook Pros and other gadgets.

Apple could even quietly unveil AirPods 3 with a press release whenever they’re ready to ship. Production snags delaying an Apple product launch aren’t too surprising as the company had been experiencing production issues with Apple Watch Series 7, too, which is probably why the smartwatch hasn’t gotten that rumored flat-edged appearance.

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Consequentially, wouldn’t it be entirely within the realm of possibility that similar production woes could have plagued AirPods 3 production, causing the launch to be delayed? Yes, it would! One needs to look no further than the original AirPods which saw multiple delays over a period spanning many months due to unforeseen production issues.

New AirPods features available with iOS 15

And with the next AirPods said to adopt an AirPods Pro-like design, which in turn would necessitate new production lines with updated tooling, that alone may be the reason why AirPods 3 might be coming in October rather than September.