The spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the world's efforts to contain it have caused havoc with tech release schedules this year, and it would appear that the next version of the Apple AirPods are the latest bit of gadgetry to get delayed.
A new report in the Nikkei Asian Review suggests that Apple is hastily trying to shift some of its AirPods production to Vietnam instead of China, and that it's having a knock-on effect on its plans to bring out new versions of the earbuds this year.
That matches up with something we heard from a respected Apple analyst last month: Ming-Chi Kuo, who is often on the mark when it comes to Apple predictions, has already said we won't see new AirPods until 2021.
The Nikkei Asian Review report also says AirPods demand has been hit by the spread of the coronavirus and the closure of many Apple Stores worldwide. Production on the current AirPods models has been scaled down by 10 percent, apparently.
Don't give up hope just yet though – we've also heard rumors from a respected source that a new version of the AirPods are in fact ready to go and were due to launch in March, at an event that was canceled as Covid-19 spread.
That tip was from Jon Prosser, who is usually accurate in his information. He did however say the new AirPods could appear alongside a new MacBook Pro – the MacBook Pro has now been unveiled, but the earbuds are nowhere to be seen.
Part of the confusion is because these leaks might all refer to different versions of the AirPods. A 'lite' edition of the earbuds are apparently on the cards, without noise canceling, while 'pro' over-the-ear headphones are also said to be in the pipeline.
A lot of rumor-collecting is educated guesswork, and the global pandemic we're all currently living through has added even more chaos and confusion. It's safe to say we can definitely look forward to new AirPods – it's just a question of when.