Apple’s AirPods 3 are expected to make a debut sometime this year. While earlier reports indicated they would be coming pretty soon, a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicates the earbuds could be coming much later than we expected. Until now, rumors have said the AirPods 3 would arrive during the first half of 2021, with Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) held around June being viewed as a possible launch venue.

According to a research note from the analyst that was seen by MacRumors, Apple may launch the AirPods 3 between July and September at the earliest. This means the release may coincide with this year’s iPhone, rather than WWDC. Kuo’s rationale is based on information suggesting the AirPods 3 are scheduled to go into mass production around that time, meaning an earlier release would not be possible. Apple could announce them earlier in the year and launch them later, but this is not the company’s usual style, so that is unlikely.

Aside from that, Kuo noted the AirPods range has suffered in terms of sales, with shipments dropping by around 25% over the last year. This may be partly due to pricing, with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max being a little bit more expensive than most other earbuds, and to considerable competition from rivals. For those who prefer to spend less but still buy from audio-focused companies, there are many cheap wireless earbuds options out there. If you don’t need to pay AirPods money to get good-to-great wireless audio on an iPhone, then you’re probably going to opt for cheaper alternatives.

Speculation around the AirPods 3 launch has been spreading for a while, but the earbuds are still unofficial. The existing AirPods range starts at $159, while the AirPods Pro are $259, leading us to speculate the AirPods 3 may fit in-between these two at around $200. However, if Kuo’s report turns out to be accurate, we may have a while to wait before we find out for sure.

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