Apple’s unannounced but hotly anticipated AirPods 3 release will see the new earbuds constructed in China rather than Vietnam, according to a new report.

Plans to produce AirPods in Vietnam have been underway for some times, with Apple keen to reduce its reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

According to a new report from Nikkei Asia, Apple has already begun to mass-produce the AirPods 3 earbuds, but in China rather than Vietnam thanks to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 outbreaks within the country.

Apple will start mass-producing its latest AirPods earphones in China instead of in Vietnam as previously planned, two people familiar with the situation said. The company still hopes to move around 20% of new AirPods production to Vietnam later, they said.

Apple has also been working to bring iPad and MacBook construction to Vietnam, although only in part. Those plans have also reportedly been shelved for the foreseeable future as Vietnam deals with strict border controls as a result of recent COVID-19 outbreaks.

The new AirPods 3 release is expected to happen around the same time as the iPhone 13 launch, although it isn’t yet clear whether it will happen at the same time or not. The new earbuds will look more like AirPods Pro, but won’t include the same advanced features such as Transparency mode and ANC.

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