Contrary to persistent and long-running rumours that the third-generation AirPods were headed for a spring 2021 release, it now looks like the launch has been postponed until the autumn.

According to a paywalled report from DigiTimes, mass production will not start until the third quarter of the year, which precludes a launch in the near future.

The production of the optical sensors to be used in the new headphones has begun, however. The sensors are said to come from the Taiwanese firm ASE Technology, but otherwise there is a lack of firm details.

Ming-Chi Kuo has previously provided similar information on the launch date. Due to the delay, the well-informed analyst estimates that 'only' 78 million units of Apple's wireless earbuds will be sold in 2021, compared with 90 million in 2020.

It's still possible, indeed likely, that Apple will organise an event in April. But it looks like the focus will be on a new iPad Pro and the AirTag object tracker, rather than the long-awaited AirPods update.

You can read all about that update in our new AirPods hub. But if the wait seems too much, find a bargain on the current models with our roundup of the best AirPods deals.

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.