'AirPods 3' not coming until fall 2021, says Ming-Chi Kuo

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After prior predictions of an early 2021 release, Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now claims that Apple's "AirPods 3" will now not enter mass production until the third quarter of 2021.

Kuo's prediction comes days after leaked images of the "AirPods 3" and recent reports that they were ready to ship. However, in a report to investors seen by AppleInsider Kuo claims that Apple has reportedly scheduled production for the third calendar quarter of 2021.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously predicted a launch in the first half of 2021, but now he suggests that the new AirPods are delayed. Kuo's note on Monday morning offers no suggestion of why the "AirPods 3" are to enter production later than expected.

Kuo's note also focuses more on what he expects will be a significant decline in the sales of AirPods overall. Up to the Q3 launch of the "AirPods 3," Kuo predicts a year-over-year decline of around 25%, including low sales for the AirPods Max.

"[Even] better-than-expected demand for the new AirPods 3, which will go to mass production in 3Q21, will allow 4Q21 shipments to remain flat YoY at 23 million units," says Kuo.

Kuo is unsure whether the "AirPods 3" will replace the current AirPods 2 or not.

"We think it is still difficult to determine whether AirPods 2 will end production after AirPods 3 goes into mass production," he continues. "Apple's dilemma is that if AirPods 2 is sold at a lower price, it may affect AirPods 3 demand, but if there is no lower-priced AirPods model, it will not be conducive to AirPods shipment."

Kuo calls the "major losers" of the contraction of Apple's AirPods market to impact providers such as Compeq and Unitech. Beneficiaries of the shift in market temperament, according to Kuo, include producers of chipsets for competitors, like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Realtek, JMicron, and Bestechnic

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