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'AirPods 3' production slated for August, report says

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Apple suppliers are reportedly preparing to enter mass production of a next-generation AirPods model that could replace the current AirPods 2 wireless headphone later this year.

Buried in a report about Apple's upcoming iPhone plans, Nikkei Asia cites sources as saying a new version of AirPods will start production in August alongside new MacBook Pro models and an expected iPhone refresh.

Rumors surrounding "AirPods 3" have circulated for well over a year. In June 2020, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple would release the next iteration of its popular wireless earbuds in early 2021, but in March said launch plans were delayed.

Shortly before Kuo revised his estimate, a leaker known as "Kang" claimed "AirPods 3" were ready to ship, and alleged images and renders of the device popped up in China.

Spurred on by well-known leakers, fans were prepared for a March launch but hopes were dashed when Apple failed to announce a new headphone product at its "Spring Loaded" event at the end of April.

When it does debut, the forthcoming AirPods model is anticipated to feature a design similar to AirPods 2, albeit with a few tweaks like a shortened stem, adjusted earbud body and an AirPods Pro-style charging case.

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