According to a new report from the analyst Dan Ives, cited by MacRumors, the third-generation AirPods will be launched at tonight's Unleashed Apple event.

Ives made the prediction on Friday, in a note to investors from the research company Wedbush. The firm's sources in the supply chain report that the new AirPods - or at least the initial batch of units - have been manufactured already. All Apple needs to do now is announce the new earbuds and ship them out to retailers.

Following the disappointing absence of AirPods at the California Streaming event last month, the obvious opportunity for Apple to unveil the new earbuds in time for the Christmas shopping period is tonight, at its Unleashed 18 October event.

Apple October event invitation

(Here's how to watch the event live, which starts at 6pm UK time or 10am PDT.)

Some features that were previously exclusive to the AirPods Pro (which are unlikely to be updated tonight - most analysts agree that this won't happen until 2022) are said to be coming to the standard AirPods, along with design elements such as shorter stems, silicone ear tips and a horizontal-hinging case. But don't expect support for the flagship features Transparency and active noise cancellation.

According to an earlier report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will keep the second-generation AirPods in the lineup when the third-gen ones launch. This means that the price of the new headphones could be slightly more higher than the previous models were when they launched.

The third-generation AirPods are reportedly being manufactured in China, as the coronavirus has spread in Vietnam. In other words, plans to move some production to other countries have had to be postponed.

Catch the latest rumours in our new AirPods hub. The best prices on the new and old models can be found in our roundup of the best AirPods deals.

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation (using DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price. Main image is a concept illustration posted by 52audio.